The Mucky Mississippi: Algae Pollution Case Back in District Court

CHICAGO (April 8, 2015) - A suit to force the Environmental Protection Agency to put limits on nutrient pollution dumped into the Mississippi River was sent back to District Court yesterday.

The ruling from the federal appeals court, revising a lower court ruling, reinforced many arguments made by the Natural Resources Defense Council on behalf of the Mississippi River Collaborative aimed at breaking decades of inaction from the federal government on the issue of the pollution fueling the Gulf Dead Zone off the coast of Louisiana. The court rejected EPA’s argument that it was immune from judicial scrutiny and asked the lower court to rule on whether the Agency’s decision to avoid action on the algae problem was allowable under the Clean Water Act.  

Following is a quote from NRDC attorney Ann Alexander:

“The ruling reinforced our long-standing contention that the EPA’s decisions must be scrutinized in the light of day. They have hidden from the stubborn problem of Mississippi River pollution for decades, and the federal decision reinforces our argument that they cannot expect to hide from the court as well.

“This gives us a chance to further clarify arguments about how the Clean Water Act requires EPA to give the public straight answers on whether federal action is needed to address the problem, since state efforts to address this problem have been too weak or nonexistent to get the job done. Waterways across this nation are being mucked to the point of threatening drinking water supplies.

“We are hopeful that the arguments that won the day before will win again."



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