Report: Stronger EPA leadership needed

Oct. 16, 2007 at 2:56 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The National Research Council urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take a more aggressive role in implementing the Clean Water Act.

A new council report said better EPA leadership is needed if the water quality of the Mississippi River and the northern Gulf of Mexico is to improve.

The report accuses the federal agency of failing to adequately coordinate and oversee state activities along the Mississippi. The council said greater EPA effort is needed to ensure the river is monitored and evaluated as a single system.

"The limited attention being given to monitoring and managing the Mississippi's water quality does not match the river's significant economic, ecological, and cultural importance," said David Dzombak, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who led the panel that prepared the study.

The report also called on the EPA to develop a federal Total Maximum Daily Load for nutrient pollutants for the river and the northern Gulf. Mandated by the Clean Water Act, a TMDL is a numerical limit on the amount of a pollutant a water body can accept and still meet its water-quality standards.

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