Cuomo, nine other states suing EPA

Drew Smith Oct. 3, 2008, 12:30pm

Andrew Cuomo (D)

ALBANY, N.Y.(Legal Newsline) -- New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is leading a coalition of nine states that are suing the EPA for creating an illegal loophole in the federal Clean Water Act.

Cuomo claims the federal agency is endangering New York's drinking water and fishing industry by refusing to control the transfer of polluted water from one water body to another.

"The Bush EPA continues to create environmental loopholes that will degrade New York's waterways, prevent fishermen and others from enjoying our streams, and put the Great Lakes at risk," Cuomo said. "Some of New York's most prized water bodies...could be harmed by the EPA's illegal rule."

Previous courts have ruled that transferring water requires regulation under the Clean Water Act. However in July 2008, the EPA issued a regulation exempting water transfers from the Clean Water Act's requirements.

Alex Matthiessen, president of Hudson Riverkeeper, warned against the dangers of water transfers.

"Polluted water transfers can introduce and spread invasive species, which can devastate the ecology of affected water ways, and add pollutants that risk rendering waters unfit for drinking, swimming, fishing or other recreational activities," Matthiessen said.

Cuomo filed the challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with a companion filing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Other states taking part in the action are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington and the Government of the Province of Manitoba, Canada.

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