Friday, May 03, 2013

Press Release: Tiffany Calls on WI Congressional Delegation to Investigate Environmental Protection Agency Practices

Tiffany Calls on WI Congressional Delegation to Investigate Environmental Protection Agency Practices
Environmental Protection Agency will not require Bad River Band to comply with Clean Water Act for new permit
Madison…Today State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) called on Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation to look into practices at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after new reports have surfaced that the EPA will not require the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa to comply with the Clean Water Act before issuing a new 5-year wastewater discharge permit. Earlier this year, news outlets from around Wisconsin reported on the repeated discharging of wastewater from the tribe’s Odanah based facility that included suspended solids, e-coli and phosphates into the Bad River that flows into Lake Superior. “I am calling on Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation to look into this matter. Why would the EPA consider giving them a new permit given their violations of the Clean Water Act?” asked Tiffany.

During the debate over new ferrous mining regulations for the State of Wisconsin, mining opponents repeatedly claimed that a proposed mine in Iron and Ashland counties would pollute Wisconsin’s waterways. EPA records have shown that e-coli levels in wastewater discharges from the Odanah treatment plant, a facility operated by these same opponents, either exceeded federal limits or were just not reported 42 times in a 57-month period.

In 2009, the EPA granted the Bad River Band Treatment as State (TAS) authority to set water quality standards within the Bad River watershed. This allows the tribe to set more stringent limitations on Wisconsinites, despite the demonstrated inability of Odanah to meet basic federal requirements itself. The EPA is currently weighing the possibility of granting air regulatory authority similar to the water TAS. “Is now the appropriate time to grant this authority given what has transpired at their wastewater facility?”Tiffany questioned. “Bureaucratic inconsistencies and double standards at the EPA have been the status quo for too long. The time has come for our federal representatives to start asking tough questions about their decision making process.”

The EPA’s public comment period for the discharge permit closes on Monday May 6, 2013. At this time there is no public hearing scheduled.
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