The US EPA has agreed to allow Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources to relax its rules when it comes water pollution enforcement.
Missouri has gotten the go-ahead to extend how long it gives those in violation of their water pollution permits to get into compliance.
Lorin Crandall is in charge of the clean water program at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. He said this move is just the EPA bringing Missouri’s rules in line with federal statutes.
Though, he said it’s not encouraging that the state is relaxing one of the few rules it had that was more stringent than federally required.
"The real story in Missouri is that we only protect a small fraction of our waters with basic fish-able, swim-able uses," Crandall said, "meanwhile we have what are considered some of the best recreational waters in the country and we're not very good about protecting them."
Missouri law put a three year limit on how long permit holders had to reach compliance. The rule change removes that upper limit.
In a news release EPA said current technology makes it difficult for some permit holders such as “municipal sewage treatment plants and industrial facilities” to reduce some pollutants to the levels required in their permits within three years. The EPA reasoned that the rule change will give the permits holders the flexibility they need.