Loopholes in the Clean Water Act are potentially detrimental to waterways

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From the Colorado News Connection (Kathleen Ryan) via the Fowler Tribune:

…some worry that loopholes in the Clean Water Act could allow the mining industry to turn Colorado’s lakes and rivers into dumping ponds for waste. One loophole allows mines to treat nearby lakes, rivers and other wetlands as “water treatment systems,” exempt from Act provisions. The other allows for toxic mine tailings, or waste, to be treated as “fill.” Prior to 2002 that designation was limited to non-toxic waste such as rock, soil and clay.

Tony Turrini, an attorney with the National Wildlife Federation, says the solution isn’t to stop mining, but to make sure it’s done sensibly.

“We certainly appreciate the economic benefits that a mine can bring to a local community, but we do insist on responsible mining. Discharging waste into waters is not responsible mining.”

The National Wildlife Federation and other groups are calling for the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to close the two loopholes, saying it will allow for new hardrock mining at proposed sites while at the same time preserving Colorado’s environment.

More water pollution coverage here.

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