News Feature | July 11, 2014

Ten Worst States For Water Pollution

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Industry dumped over 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals into U.S. waterways in 2012, according to a new report by the advocacy group Environment America Research and Policy Center.

The report, which drew on data published by industrial facilities as well as government numbers, broke that figure down by state, region, and water source.

The report ranked which states are polluting U.S. waterways the most. The top 10, starting with the highest amount of toxic releases: Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Virginia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio. 

The Great Lakes were among the hardest hit, swallowing 8.39 million pounds of toxic chemicals in 2012. The Chesapeake Bay took in 3.23 million pounds; the Upper Mississippi River absorbed 16.9 million pounds; and the Puget Sound swallowed 578,000 pounds.  

"Clearly, the vision of the Clean Water Act remains unrealized for many of America’s waterways," the research report said.

The document was meant to support arguments that the EPA needs broader jurisdiction over U.S. waterways. 

"A series of U.S. Supreme Court rulings over the last decade opened new loopholes in the Clean Water Act, putting the health of thousands of small streams and millions of acres of wetlands in peril," the report said.

John Rumpler, an attorney and co-author of the report, found consolation in a recent EPA rule-making proposal.

“The EPA is finally moving forward with the Clean Water Act rule, which is the most important step for clean water,” he said per the Independent Record

 The EPA recently "released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation's water resources," according to the agency. The proposal is facing significant opposition from Republicans and the agriculture lobby. 

The research report also offered other suggestions on how to clean up U.S. waterways. "The report recommends several steps to curb this tide of toxic pollution – including requiring industry to switch from toxic chemicals to safer alternatives," 10 11 Now reported

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