“These iconic rivers are suffering because of the EPA’s consistent foot-dragging,” said Heather Govern, CLF’s Vice President of Clean Air and Water. “Despite all the evidence linking stormwater pollution to dirty and unsafe water, the agency has failed to take legally required steps to address this growing problem. We have waited over three years for them to regulate the pollution, and these rivers cannot wait any longer.”
After Threat of Lawsuit, EPA Commits to Reducing Toxic Stormwater Pollution in Charles, Mystic, and Neponset Rivers
“During every heavy rainfall, a toxic soup of pollutants flows into our most iconic rivers, threatening water quality, wildlife, and people,” said Heather Govern, CLF’s Vice President of Clean Air and Water. “The EPA has announced a first step to protect these rivers, but the agency must now commit to a firm date when they will issue a draft permit. The longer the permits take, the longer the damage continues.”
In one part of Boston, there’s the Charles River. In another, the Mystic. Both were once heavily polluted. But where the Charles has become the poster child of environmental success, the Mystic tells a different tale – one that exposes a region divided along racial and economic lines.
“Every time it rains, a toxic stew is running into three of the area’s most iconic rivers,” said Caitlin Peale Sloan, Vice President of CLF Massachusetts. “We’ve repeatedly asked the EPA to clean up this pollution, but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. It’s time for the agency to hold these large properties accountable for the constant damage they’re doing to our cherished rivers.”
“After a lengthy debate over the future of this project, today’s announcement is a major step in the right direction,” said Staci Rubin, Vice President of Environmental Justice at CLF. “In choosing this design, officials have the potential to unlock commuter rail, bike, and bus access to communities sorely lacking convenient transit options. As this process moves forward, state officials must commit to minimizing environmental impacts, and CLF will be involved to make sure that happens.”
The past year has shown us what we can accomplish when faced with unprecedented upheaval. Now we are focused on driving forward a future that is equitable and healthy for all – while also confronting the most urgent environmental threats in the here and now. The work we do together in the next five years… Continue reading Conservation Matters Summer 2021: Year in Review
“It is past time for MassDOT to heed the consensus among Mayor Walsh, transportation experts, and affected neighborhoods that the all at-grade approach is the best one for Boston, for commuters, and for the river,” said Bradley Campbell, President of Conservation Law Foundation. “The Baker Administration should start working for rather than against its own vision for the future of transportation in the Commonwealth.”
The Charles River has been hit by toxic algae blooms almost every summer in recent years. The blooms — which can be dangerous for people, pets and the river’s ecosystem — are fed by hot sunny days and storm runoff containing nutrients, especially phosphorus.
“Polluted stormwater is poisoning the Charles River, leading to blooms of dangerous algae,” said Heather Govern, Director of CLF’s Clean Air and Water program. “The blooms can sicken humans and pets which means boat and swim races are increasingly cancelled in the summer months and people are unable to use this precious resource. Large properties surrounding the Charles River have gotten a free pass to pollute for too long, and now’s the time for EPA to finally hold them accountable.”
“Stormwater pollution continues to wreak havoc on Massachusetts waters,” said Heather Govern, Director of CLF’s Clean Air and Water program. “Cities and towns are responsible for reducing this pollution and many have shirked these duties for years. This new permit forces them to prioritize protecting our waters, but CLF is prepared to take legal action if these flagrant violations continue.”