Nonpointing in the Right Direction
In a significant ruling that means average citizens could more bear more responsibility for reducing water pollution, a federal judge has upheld the right of the U.S. EPA to set limits for river pollution caused by runoff from logging, agriculture, and urban areas. Farm and timber groups argued in a lawsuit that the EPA could only regulate industrial waste and sewage, pollution that comes from so-called point sources, like pipes. But the court ruled that the EPA has the authority to set limits for water pollution from nonpoint sources, such as runoff from pesticides and sediment from logging. The EPA says runoff is the nation’s leading threat to water quality. A survey released yesterday by the National Wildlife Federation found that three-fourths of the states are failing to address water pollution caused by runoff from farms and forests.