A U.S. District Court has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to determine whether to set new limitations on pollution that is fueling dangerous algae growth in many waterways across the nation.
The court’s decision comes after a suit was filed against the EPA by several conservation groups, including the Kentucky Waterways Alliance.
The KWA cites an Army Corps of Engineers study of some central Kentucky recreational lakes that found excessive levels of harmful algae blooms for the first time.
Plaintiffs in the suit included the KWA, Tennessee Clean Water Network, Gulf Restoration Network, Waterkeeper Alliance, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Iowa Environmental Council, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Prairie Rivers Network, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council. Attorneys at the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, NRDC, and the Environmental Law and Policy Center brought the case, which was tried in eastern Louisiana.
Nitrogen and phosphorus from sewage plants, urban stormwater systems and agricultural operations fuel the growth of algae in waterways around the country. Algae chokes out other aquatic life and can rob water of the oxygen that fish and shellfish need to survive.