October 25, 2005
Sierra Club and Coalition request impaired waters list,
Missouri fails to produce list
Yesterday, two Missouri environmental/conservation organizations formally requested that the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) compile and establish a listing of Impaired Waterbodies for the State of Missouri. Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act requires the report.
In July of 2003, the USEPA established a deadline of April 1, 2004, for each state to submit a report of its impaired waters. That was over 19 months ago, and Missouri still has not submitted the required report, even though Missouri officials were fully aware of the deadline well in advance.
In addition to the failure to meet this deadline, the Missouri General Assembly stipulated that, prior to any such list of impaired waters being submitted to USEPA, the list had to be adopted as a state regulation (Ch. 644, Section 36, paragraph 5, RSMO). The procedures for doing so are outlined in Chapter 536 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, and would add at least 12 months - and more likely 18 months - to the currently undefined schedule. Under this scenario, Missouri would not present its 2004 report to USEPA until sometime in 2007, possibly 2008.
"We have waited patiently for this process to begin. We have asked questions and were told by MDNR that ‘we’re working on it’. We were willing to stand still for this report to be submitted a year late. But, it is now going on 20 months overdue and it is still many more months away. Our patience is exhausted." Said Ken Midkiff, Conservation Chair of the Ozark (MO) Chapter of the Sierra Club.
“We take federal laws quite seriously,” stated Edward “Ted” Heisel, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “We do understand that it is a bit embarrassing for the State to acknowledge that pollution is impairing the beneficial uses of our streams, rivers, and lakes. But, our state’s dirty waterbodies can’t be cleaned up unless they’re identified. All we are asking is that the identification be done. Our state hasn’t done that, so we’re asking EPA to do so.”
Contacts: Ken Midkiff – 573-442-5570
Ted Heisel – 314-727-0600