Right now, EPD says waters are safe if E. coli concentrations are high enough to sicken eight people out of 1,000. EPD proposed three months ago to make new standards that say waterways are safe if 14 people out of 1,000 get sick. It's the most minimal protection allowable under federal law.
Adopting the standards would mean that fewer rivers would qualify as impaired waterways, thus keeping EPD and local governments from having to spend money cleaning them up and monitoring their pollution levels.
E. coli is a strain of bacteria found in fecal matter that can cause pink eye and intestinal illness.
"If the new bacteria standard gets approved at the levels proposed by EPD last fall, numerous streams will fall off the cleanup list and the public's health could be jeopardized," says Sally Bethea, the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper's executive director, and a Department of Natural Resources board member.
Because of opposition from Bethea's group, and several others, EPD didn't go ahead with the new rule.
The move to adopt the weaker standards isn't dead in the water yet though. EPD formed a stakeholder group to study the issue further. The group's first meeting is Jan. 27. If the group -- composed of business executives, local officials and a few greenies -- decides the weaker standards are protective enough, then the Natural Resources Board could approve them before this summer.
I'm glad these guys are getting their deserved hype but seriously.... 'Is art the new…
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More recently I've talked to people who know more about the Kell building than me…
yeah, TW, why'd you make the space so small?