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Keep pressure on officials to reduce Mississippi River pollution

A federal court placed a temporary hold on the Clean Water Rule nationwide last month. Polluters and their allies are attacking the rule in the U.S. Senate as well.

Developmental toxics, carcinogens, reproductive toxics, antibiotics, diabetes and cholesterol medication, beta-blockers and anti-depressants, insect repellant, birth-control pills, mercury – these sound less like the ingredients of a love potion and more like ingredients in some dangerous draught, concocted to produce death in one’s enemies.

Unfortunately not contained within the safe confines of a potion bottle, these putrid ingredients are instead mixed directly into one of Minnesota’s most treasured waterways, the Mississippi River. Take for example Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries: In 2014 its facility in Rosemount dumped over 650,000 pounds of toxic waste directly into a tributary of the Mississippi River.

Until recently, many of Minnesota’s waterways, including the multiple streams and wetlands that flow into the Mississippi River, weren’t protected by the Clean Water Act. Fortunately, this summer the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put in place the Clean Water Rule, restoring Clean Water Act protections to waterways across the country, including the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans.

Unfortunately, on Oct. 9 a federal court placed a temporary hold on the Clean Water Rule nationwide. For now, almost 46,000 miles of Minnesota’s streams and the drinking water for more than 970,000 Minnesotans again lack clear Clean Water Act protections and are thus vulnerable to pollution. Perhaps even more frightening is that polluters and their allies are attacking the Clean Water Rule in the U.S. Senate as well.

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In the face of polluters’ opposition, it’s critical that Minnesotans who value clean water make their voices heard. This fall, we’ll need Sen. Amy Klobuchar to side with clean water over polluters so that all of Minnesota’s lakes and streams receive Clean Water Act protection. 

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