State suing EPA over waterway loophole

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: October 2, 2008 - 7:41 PM

Minnesota and eight other states are suing the Environmental Protection Agency, accusing it of creating a loophole in the federal Clean Water Act that threatens waterways and drinking water.

The EPA opened the "illegal loophole" with a June 9 regulation that exempts the transfer of polluted water from one body of water to another, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

"Federal regulators jeopardize both our economy and our fishing, boating and outdoors way of life by allowing polluted water to be diverted into Minnesota lakes and rivers," said Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson in a statement.

Thursday's lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New York City. Joining New York and Minnesota in the suit are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Washington and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

The EPA's Water Transfer Rule harms states such as Minnesota, Swanson's office said. For example, North Dakota determined that the rule allows it to drain water from Devil's Lake into the Cheyenne River "without any opportunity for Minnesota to comment on or oppose the discharge of the polluted waters," the statement said. The Cheyenne flows into the Red River, which forms the boundary between North Dakota and Minnesota.

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