Defanging a Pollution Watchdog
The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission serves eight states. Now its authority to limit pollution in drinking water is under threat. Coal power plants sit along the banks of the Ohio River, and coal companies use the river to move tons of coal on barges. "Electric utilities and other industries are pressing a regional commission to end its role in restricting the dumping of toxic wastewater into the river, arguing there's too much bureaucracy already," James Bruggers reports for Inside Climate News.
The Commission has made serious progress in cleaning up drinking water that serves millions of people. "That progress has allowed riverside cities like Cincinnati and Louisville to rediscover their waterfronts for recreation and tourism—even as significant pollution concerns remain," Bruggers argues.
Coal industry representatives argue that regulations protecting the river from mercury and ash are redundant with other regulations from other government agencies. But Bruggers reports, "There were, as of 2015, 188 instances in which ORSANCO had set a standard for a pollutant that neither a member state nor EPA had set a standard for."