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Report: 12 Million Lbs. of Toxic Chemicals Dumped in Alabama Water

A new environmental report ranks Alabama among the worst in the nation for water pollution.  The study is from the group Environment America Research and Policy.  It says industrial facilities dumped more than 12 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Alabama waterways in 2012.  John Rumpler is the group’s Senior Attorney.  He says THAT pollution puts Alabama at fourth worst in the nation.

John Rumpler: “The people of Alabama deserve clean rivers, deserve clean water.  12 million pounds of toxic chemicals dumped into our rivers is just not acceptable.”

The report found ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA was the biggest polluter. The German steelmaker reportedly dumped more than 1.7 million pounds of toxic chemicals.  Rumpler says one of two things is clearly happening.

Rumpler: “Either Alabama authorities are failing to enforce legal limits on pollution, or they are writing permits that are far too weak to protect our rivers from this level of toxic pollution.”

Rumpler says the report is timely because the Environmental Protection Agency is currently finalizing rules to restore protections to America’s waterways that were cancelled by court decisions years ago. 

Rumpler: “It will take many steps for us to ensure that all of Alabama’s rivers are clean.  But one step is before us right now, and that is for EPA to finalize the rule restoring protections to all of America’s waterways under the Clean Water Act.”

Click the above audio to hear the full interview with John Rumpler.

Jeremy Loeb is a reporter and former APR host of Morning Edition. He joined the station in December of 2013 and stayed with us until November 2014.
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