EPA discharge permits part of pollution problem

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Rural stream
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

Editor:

I do not intend to argue the dubious conclusion in Mr. Scott Shalaway’s July 25 article, Undoing Nixon’s environmental legacy, that President Trump is attempting to undo Nixon’s legacy.

Nor will I debate the scientific evidence as to who or what is responsible for climate change.

What I will point out is that while it may be popular to blame the president or fracking for climate change, most commentators and activists continue to ignore changes that, if implemented, would immediately reduce the amount of pollution and, in turn, benefit our environment.

If you want to reduce pollution now and have an immediate and positive impact on our environment, look no further than the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s discharge permitting program.

Currently, the Ohio EPA issues thousands of discharge permits throughout the state of Ohio, i.e., permits that authorize a multitude of government and private entities to dump pollutants directly into Ohio waterways.

Contrary to its mandate to protect the environment, through these programs the Ohio EPA authorizes and approves an overwhelming amount of pollution to be dumped directly into Ohio rivers, lakes, reservoirs, streams and creeks.

The Ohio EPA’s website states the discharge permitting program is designed to protect waterways. That is utter nonsense.

How can allowing thousands of government and private entities to dump everything from bio-solids to E-coli to mercury to dissolved oxygen to arsenic to benzene to any number of other pollutants directly into our waterways be considered a design to protect those waterways?

While the law does allow the Ohio EPA to issue discharge permits, the law also requires that any discharges not adverse effect water quality. Apparently, the Ohio EPA incorrectly believes that flushing pollution downstream and diluting pollution using our waterways is helpful to our environment.

The Ohio EPA may argue that the amount of pollution dumped today is less than the amount of pollution dumped into Ohio’s waterways in the past. Or that it would cost a lot of money for the polluters to clean up their operations. Can that really be a justification for continuing to purposely devastate our environment by contaminating our waterways?

Apparently, the Ohio EPA has placed profits above safety, the environment and clean water. With all the attention on climate change, fracking, and other headline-grabbing items, why do we pay no attention to the ongoing and sanctioned pollution of the water sources that are essential to life and health?

If you want to do more than just complain about the environment, then take concrete action to reduce pollution, help our environment and restore our waterways. How? Tell the Ohio EPA to stop issuing new discharge permits, and place sunset provisions on the existing discharge permits.

Marge Conner
North Benton, Ohio

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