Proposed Upper Blackstone Delays: Unnecessary & Damaging

Tricia Jedele

On November 15, 2011, CLF led a coalition of 14 other environmental groups in sending a letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency that called for swift implementation of permit controls at a Massachusetts facility that is discharging directly into the Blackstone River.

The coalition letter was written in response to a July 20, 2011 letter sent by the Massachusetts’s Department of Environmental Protection in which the MADEP asked EPA to consider delaying the installation of new permit controls at the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District (UBWPAD). MADEP argued that the delay would allow for further study of the river before we ask the UBWPAD to install costly new controls. CLF and the other signatories to the letter argued that any additional delay will further degrade the water quality of the Blackstone, and will also be  contrary to the permit requirements established by the Clean Water Act. A copy of the letter can be found here.

Every day, the UBWPAD discharges as much as 56 million gallons of wastewater into the Blackstone River. This is not the time, or the place, for delay. We’ve studied the river to death.  Now we have to begin protecting it.

The litigation deciding where the permit limits for nitrogen and phosphorous discharges at the UPWPAD should be set will be decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit before the summer of 2012.  Oral argument is set for this coming January. Stay tuned for an update – we’ll provide you one here on CLF Scoop.

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