Topic: Clean Water Act

September 20, 2014

LTE: Water rules not a threat to farming

Published in the News-Gazette on September 19, 2014:

There seems to be much confusion regarding the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed rules regarding the Clean Water Act. These rules generally referenced as Waters of the United States have been described as “the largest land grab in history” on rural radio and something akin to regulating every drop in the ditch out here in corn country.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, the number of exemptions to agricultural industries and farmers has been extended, and the rules just don’t burden property rights.

While our Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, speculates on the Illinois Farm Bureau website: “There’s a trust gap between EPA and the agricultural community,” in truth EPA and the Corps are doing a successful science-based job at protecting the waters our children and grandchildren drink.

I suggest the trust gap is between Davis and the public. By playing election-year politics with the most precious commodity in the biosphere, he’s attempting to coddle the Big Ag support he needs to win re-election.

SCOTT DOSSETT (Prairie Rivers Network member)


PDF version of the News-Gazette LTE.


June 19, 2014

Show Your Support for Clean Water

Tell U.S. EPA you support the Waters of the U.S. Rule

SharpsInc Pharm Mailer 196

There’s a new rule that’s good for clean water and it’s under attack.

US EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers want to do the right thing and clarify Clean Water Act protections for some of our smallest yet most important streams and wetlands.

These waters are at risk of pollution and destruction and in need of legal protection.

Streams and wetlands filter pollutants, reduce flooding, provide drinking water for millions of people, and habitat for fish and wildlife.

There is strong opposition from those who want to continue using our waters as dumping grounds. Regretfully many polluters have the ears of Congress and are working hard to defeat the rule.

Let’s stop them.

CLICK HERE to tell U.S. EPA you support the Waters of the U.S. Rule.

Thank you!

September 16, 2013

Panel discussion on Champaign County water resources

The Sierra Club Prairie Group will sponsor a panel presentation and discussion titled Champaign County’s Water: Where It Comes From, Where It Goes To, and How We Can Protect It Along the Way to increase local awareness about federal, state and local policies that regulate Champaign County’s water use and quality.

Panelists Robert Hirschfeld and Kim Knowles of Prairie Rivers Network, Dwain Berggren of the Illinois State Geological Survey, and Frank DiNovo, retired Director of Planning and Community Development with the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, will provide information about Champaign County’s ground and surface water and the regulatory bodies and policies that impact them. A facilitated discussion will focus on how community members can support policies that protect local water resources.

Program co-sponsors include: CCNet (Champaign County Sustainable Networking) Channing- Murray Foundation, Faith in Place, Grand Prairie Friends, Izaak Walton League, Prairie Rivers Network, U of I Students for Environmental Concerns, Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign’s Green UU’s and Social Action Committee, Upper Sangamon River Conservancy

For further information contact: Carol Hays

July 15, 2013

Citizens to EPA: Clean Up Our Water!


Citizens to EPA: Clean Up Our Water!
Hundreds attend limited public hearing on power plant water pollution

Washington, D.C. – On April 22, after more than 30 years of delay, the EPA proposed a new rule under the federal Clean Water Act that contains a variety of options for cleaning up toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants. Power plants are some of the biggest sources of water pollution in the country, having already poisoned hundreds of lakes, rivers, bays, streams and aquifers. These are waters from which many nearby communities drink, swim and fish.

On July 9, at its Washington, D.C. headquarters, the EPA held the first and only public hearing on the proposed rule. But the EPA limited the scope and length of the public hearing, much to the disappointment of the hundreds of citizens who want to tell their stories of poisoned waters.

The following statement is from Alliance for the Great Lakes (IL), Appalachian Voices, Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper (FL), Chesapeake Climate Action Network (MD), Clean Water for North Carolina (NC), Comite Dialogo Ambiental (PR), Earthjustice, Environmental Integrity Project, French Broad Riverkeeper (NC), Greenpeace, Haw Riverkeeper (NC), Labadie Environmental Organization (MO), Little Blue Regional Action Group (PA), Milwaukee Riverkeeper (WI), National Hispanic Medical Association, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, Patuxent Riverkeeper (MD), Potomac Riverkeeper (DC), Prairie Rivers Network (IL), Sierra Club, Watauga Riverkeeper (NC), Waterkeeper Alliance, and Western North Carolina Alliance (NC):

“It is time for the EPA to end the power industries’ long history of destroying our lakes, rivers, and streams with toxic pollution. We are going to do all we can to ensure comprehensive rules are adopted that will require power plants to clean up all of their toxic wastewater pollution, not just some of it.

“By far the best option proposed by the EPA is for power plants to install zero liquid discharge technology and convert to safer coal ash handling systems that will eliminate discharges of the most contaminated wastewaters entirely. We hope the EPA will adopt the strongest protections for our waters from this pollution.

“The EPA has called this hearing only on part of the proposed rule, so-called ‘pretreatment’ standards for coal waste going to public water treatment facilities. The agency needs to listen more broadly. It is important that the EPA hear from the public on the rule as a whole, because so many of us are affected by toxic water pollution from power plants in our rivers, lakes and streams.” {Continue Reading »}

December 4, 2012

A Living Document: The US Constitution and Clean Water

Urbana, Illinois  native and University of Illinois alumnus Dr. Richard Lazarus is distinguished among conservation advocates for the many environmental law cases he has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. As Prairie Rivers Network’s honored guest speaker for our 45th Anniversary Annual Dinner, Dr. Lazarus applauded the environmental protections achieved in the last forty years, protections that were the result of revolutionary new federal laws that recognized how essential water, air, and land are to this country’s future prosperity.

Still, the road from environmental legislation to a cleaner world may involve significant detours. And unexpected challenges can present themselves in the form of nine robed figures who have the final say on interpreting the laws of the land.

Posing the question “what does affordable health care have to do with the environment?” Lazarus illuminated how Supreme Court decisions in “non-environmental” cases can impact the reach of federal environmental law protections. {Continue Reading »}

November 26, 2012

Pollution Control Board Decision – Industry Mine owners will not get away with polluting our waters

The Illinois Pollution Control Board has agreed with Prairie Rivers Network, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and The Sierra Club that Industry Mine violated its permit more than 600 times!

Industry Mine Photo credit:

The Industry Coal Mine in McDonough and Schuyler Counties has been getting away with polluting local waterways for years. But on November 16, 2012, the Illinois Pollution Control Board determined that the irresponsible operation of this mine will not go unpunished.

The Board’s ruling is a great victory for the people living in the watersheds of Camp Creek, Willow Creek, and Grindstone Creek, as well as the Lamoine River Ecosystem Partnership, whose members have been fighting for years to stop the pollution from the mine.

The Board agreed with Prairie Rivers Network and our partners that Industry Mine violated its permit 624 times over a period of 8 years. The violations included unlawful discharges of iron, manganese, sulfates, acid, and total suspended solids–enough pollution to pose serious threats to water quality. Until we took action, nothing had been done by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources or the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to stop the pollution or to hold the mine owners accountable for their flagrant noncompliance.

Springfield Coal Company, the current owner of Industry Mine, is seeking to open two new strip mines near Canton and Littleton. We believe the new coal mines will pose serious risks to Canton’s public drinking water supply and to the high quality woodlands and streams in these communities.

Prairie Rivers Network has been working with Canton Area Citizens for Environmental Issues and other local residents to prevent Springfield Coal Company from setting up or expanding its coal operations in their communities.

The Board will hold a hearing to determine the amount of penalties they will impose on the owners of Industry Mine. Please stay tuned for hearing details and information about how you can help us to make a strong case for the maximum penalties allowable under the law.