Environmentalists sued [complaint, PDF] the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] on Thursday regarding federal water quality standards. The environmentalists are seeking [Reuters report] new standards “designed to protect marine life against the corrosive effects of carbon emissions absorbed into the ocean from the burning of fossil fuels.” The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity [advocacy website], which is accusing [press release] the EPA of failing to follow the Clean Water Act [text, PDF], which requires them to take action in the face of a rising threat to ocean acidification. The lawsuit is requesting that standards for measuring pollutants be updated to reflect more recent scientific discoveries. The Center for Biological Diversity claims that recent science, showing carbon dioxide emissions are altering the chemistry of oceans and making seawater more acidic, calls for an update to the water-quality standards which have not been revised in more than 40 years.
Water contamination has been a major concern over the last year. In March Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan was served with a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] over the water contamination in Flint, Michigan. In February BP supervisors were found not guilty [JURIST report] of a Clean Water Act violation after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Also in February the Supreme Court blocked [JURIST report] the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which meant to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In December a federal appeals court preserved the EPA’s Mercury regulations [JURIST report] that limit mercury and other hazardous pollutants from coal-fired power plants. In October the Sixth Circuit temporarily stayed the EPA’s new Clean Water Rule [JURIST report] for the Clean Water Act.