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EPA sued over Missouri streams

West Fork Cuivre River in Missouri.
(Dan Sherburne)
West Fork Cuivre River in Missouri.

By Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO. – An environmental group has sued the EPA claiming is has failed to protect thousands of miles of Missouri streams under the Clean Water Act.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed the federal suit Wednesday in Kansas City.

Executive Director Kat Logan Smith says the state of Missouri has left about 150,000 miles of streams unclassified giving them little protection under the federal Clean Water Act.

Smith says as a result the permits issued by the state of Missouri for discharging pollutants in those streams have no limits.

"It makes no sense to continue to allow unlimited pollution in these waters and expect all the downstream waters to be ok," Smith said. "I think we've seen pretty clearly that they're not."

Smith says her group worked with the EPA and Missouri Department of Natural Resources for five years to give more protection to all of the state's waters.

She says those efforts stalled leaving the group little choice but to file suit.

An EPA spokesman says the agency has not yet seen the complaint and could not comment.