Lawsuit: Over a decade, Oregon failed to create a plan to clean up polluted water | State
SALEM – An environmental group is suing Oregon and the federal government for failing to develop plans to clean up the state’s most polluted waterways, a requirement of federal law.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday August 3 by Northwest Environmental Advocates, alleges state and federal governments failed to comply with the Clean Water Act, which requires states to submit a list of water bodies to the Environmental Protection Agency. which should be cleaned every two years.
This prioritized list should form the basis of the clean-up plans, as well as an implementation schedule within two years. The EPA is supposed to determine if the plans comply with federal law.
While the state submitted a list of polluted waterways in 2017, which showed more than 3,000 water bodies in need of cleanup, the state has not released any new cleanup plans since 2010 after a previous lawsuit filed by the same defense group in mid-1990, the costume alleges.
“The last time Oregon produced new water pollution control plans was over ten years ago, and it was a direct result of our lawsuit against the EPA in 1996.” NWEA executive director Nina Bell said in a statement. “Clearly Oregon only protects water quality in response to lawsuits, so here we are again in federal court.”
Jennifer Flynt, spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, disputed the claims in the lawsuit, saying the state had released plans to reduce nutrient levels and water temperature in the Klamath Basin, to mitigate mercury pollution in the Willamette Basin and another for the Columbia River, all over the past two years.