Our view: State lags in water cleanup
June 18, 2012 3:44PM
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Updated: July 20, 2012 6:02AM
It’s not news that Indiana’s waterways are among the nation’s most polluted and most poisonous.
Nor is it a revelation that other states have put far more action and money into this critical challenge to public health than Indiana, which extols far more modest progress.
This is a state, after all, that has cut funding and staff for environmental protection despite consistently low rankings in virtually every area of water, air and soil quality.
It is a state with a long bipartisan history of environmental neglect.
What is new is the secondary treatment given mercury and PCBs in a report to the EPA by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. While acknowledging these contaminants are a grave problem extending to nearly 1,000 waterways, IDEM nonetheless placed them in a separate, less-urgent category for repair.
The agency says it’s made some progress in reducing mercury emissions from power plants and intends to develop a reduction plan for mercury and PCBs, but needs guidance and money from EPA.
Other states have moved ahead. Other states have invested their own money in corrective measures. Other states are more demanding of the coal and electricity industries.
State and industry officials say the situation will improve as new EPA rules take effect. These are the same rules that state government and the utilities have denounced as job-killers and electricity rate-busters.
This same EPA estimates that as many as
1 in 10 American women of childbearing age have enough mercury in their systems to endanger their developing children.
Other studies have shown that every dollar invested in the Clean Air Act has multiplied itself in reduced mortality and improved health and productivity.
Other states get it when it comes to true value. That’s why they’re busy doing what they can, rather than explaining why they can’t.