Groups Announce Plans to Sue EPA for Failing to Set Standards Controlling Strip Mall and Subdivision Stormwater Pollution

WASHINGTON (July 8, 2004) - Two national conservation groups today notified the Environmental Protection Agency they intend to sue the agency for failing to set standards controlling stormwater pollution from strip malls, subdivisions and other new development. The groups, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and Waterkeeper Alliance, charge that EPA's unwillingness to control this pollution will lead to more beach closings, waterborne disease, flooding, fish kills and contaminated drinking water supplies. The agency's inaction, the groups charge, violates the law. The agency now has 60 days to establish standards to avoid the lawsuit.

"The EPA isn't protecting our water, its protecting asphalt," said Nancy Stoner, director of the Clean Water Project at NRDC."The parking lot lobby may be happy about that, but Americans who like to swim, fish, and drink clean water are out of luck."

Pollution from runoff from paved surfaces, such as parking lots, highways and rooftops, is the fastest growing source of water pollution across the country, according to a 2002 report by the Pew Oceans Commission. NRDC and the Waterkeeper Alliance say EPA's failure to control urban stormwater pollution inevitably will despoil the environment and threaten public health, particularly in coastal areas, where stormwater already is the largest source of water pollution and population is growing rapidly.