Uncontrolled nutrient pollution causes runaway growth of algae that can make drinking water taste bad, promote growth of mosquitoes, and suck oxygen out of the water that fish need to breathe.
Last summer developers buried an Illinois EPA proposal to protect clean water in fast-growing areas by getting a relatively obscure legislative body - the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules - to quash a common-sense proposal that was the result of years of meetings, hard work, and compromise by all parties. IEPA is still working to respond to that sneak attack, and now their other major clean water initiative has been at least temporarily halted by pressure behind closed doors.
At issue is a proposal by the Blagojevich administration to protect drinking water and wildlife from pollution by requiring new or expanded wastewater plants to use widely available technology to remove phosphorus as part of treating sewage. Since these controls aren't required, most of our major rivers are overloaded with this nutrient that is natural in small quantities, but quickly becomes a threat to drinking water and aquatic life when dumped unchecked in millions of gallons of wastewater per day. Many plants are including the technology voluntarily now.
Increasingly JCAR is being used as a tool by polluters to block regulations using arguments that either didn't work or weren't made in the rulemaking process. If your legislator sits on JCAR,
let them know you support clean water and you hope they do too.