As Louisiana continues to reel from flooding and chemical spills in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) is trying to quietly change the rules to make it easier to pollute our waters. Specifically, they are attempting to weaken their “antidegradation” rules, which are required by the Clean Water Act and help ensure clean waters stay clean and polluted waters don’t get dirtier. Tell LDEQ to keep our waters clean:
LDEQ is proposing so-called “minor” revisions to their rules that will significantly weaken pollution protections for Louisiana’s waters. For example, some of Louisiana’s most pristine waters – like the Tchefuncte and Bogue Falaya Rivers - are designated as Outstanding Natural Resources Waters. Under the law, they are supposed to be protected from degradation and new sources of pollution, but LDEQ is actually changing the definition of “degradation” to allow for more pollution discharges into Louisiana’s healthiest rivers, streams, and lakes. They are also failing to establish legally required procedures to determine if adding pollution to clean waters is socially or economically justifiable.
We all depend on Louisiana’s waters for drinking, swimming, fishing, boating, and hunting. Please take a minute to send LDEQ a message: We want to keep Louisiana’s clean waters clean! Instead of weakening existing rules, they should be enhancing them in order to protect Louisiana’s wildlife and communities.
Matt Rota is GRN's Science and Water Policy Director.