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Black Warrior Riverkeeper sues EPA to protect vulnerable streams

Sample water from the river for analysis. Hand in glove holding a test tube

Black Warrior Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 27, 2019, in an effort to ensure the protection Black Warrior River’s watersheds by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

ADEM dropped Lost Creek and Big Yellow Creek from the state’s Section 303(d) List, which features and describes bodies of water in the state affected by water pollution. It is sent to the EPA in order to help improve the waterways. If a waterway is on the list, it is prioritized by the EPA.

The lawsuit asks the court to require the EPA to put the two creeks on its own list for 2018, disregarding the Alabama list, within 60 days in order to ensure the support for the two omitted waterways.

“Lost Creek and Big Yellow Creek are important streams which deserve to be fully protected for fishing, swimming, drinking water, recreation, and wildlife habitat,” said Nelson Brooke, Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s staff riverkeeper.  “It is a shame the state of Alabama ignores pollution problems just so a few polluters can make more money.”

The two creeks have been on the list since 1998, but according to ADEM, there is new evidence to suggest that the waterways do not suffer from pollution.

According to the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, the ADEM dropped the creeks without merit or evidence of suggested reasons for the drop and did not follow its own procedures for such an issue.

“EPA allowed Alabama to remove sensitive waterbodies in the Black Warrior basin from the 2018 List without basic supporting evidence that they are meeting applicable water quality standards,” said Eva Dillard, Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s staff attorney.  “We want to ensure that agencies like ADEM and EPA follow the Clean Water Act and implement all necessary measures to make these vulnerable streams healthy again.”

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Mikayla Burns
Written By

Mikayla Burns is an intern at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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