Waterkeeper Alliance Targets Sen. Inhofe’s Mercury Pollution Bill on National Fishable Action Day
WASHINGTON, DC - On Thursday, June 21st, the Waterkeeper Alliance and their local affiliates around the country will be celebrating Fishable Action Day, a day to raise awareness regarding the importance of fishable waters and what that means to the health and well-being of the community. This day of action is designed to promote access to clean, fishable waters globally and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act that has provided safeguards to U.S. drinking water and fishing spots.
Despite its strengths and successes, the Clean Water Act has been slowly eroded by on-going attacks from polluters and those in Congress who value corporate profits over the health of our waterways and our communities. Fishable Action Day hopes to draw attention to how far we have come in cleaning up our waters and the next steps in limiting and cleaning up mercury pollution. Although most mercury contamination begins as air pollution from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants, it quickly falls out of the air into waterways. In December 2011, the EPA issued a new rule regulating mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants but now the long overdue rule is under attack by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) who has put forward a bill to have the rule rescinded.
With mercury pollution having a dramatic effect on individual health and the health of fish stocks, opposition to Senator Inhofe’s bill is the key target of Waterkeeper groups and their allies on this National Fishable Action Day. The EPA and CDC estimate that 1 in 6 US women carry dangerous mercury levels endangering 640,000 children annually. Inhofe’s bill is expected up for a vote as soon as this week.
”Attempts to rescind this rule that is designed to protect the health and well-being of our families and waterways from the impacts of coal fired power plants are preposterous,” said Marc Yaggi, Executive Director of the Waterkeeper Alliance. “It is clear that Senator Inhofe and his cronies in Congress are prioritizing the interests of polluters over that of our children and the environment,” he added.
In the Pacific Northwest, Waterkeeper organizations are combating another insidious attack on the Clean Water Act. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in NEDC v. Brown stating that the Clean Water Act requires permits for discharges of polluted storm water from pipes, ditches and channels along logging roads. Across the West, logging roads are the leading source of sediment pollution from logging activities. But Big Timber is pushing Congress to exempt them from the Clean Water Act giving them the ability to dump massive qualities of waste and pollution into our nation’s rivers and streams. Waterkeeper organizations across the West will use Fishable Action Day to raise awareness of about the threats posed to clean water and our nations fisheries by the impacts of logging roads.
“The impacts from industrial logging clog our rivers and streams with sediment and other pollutants that devastate the iconic fish stocks of the Pacific Northwest,” Lesley Adams of Rogue Riverkeeper said. “The court has clearly stated that this industry must comply with the Clean Water Act to protect these resources and are demanding that the EPA uphold that ruling,” she continued.