Sep 18, 2019

Environmental Groups File Lawsuit Against EPA Over Los Alamos Storm Water Pollution

In June, Amigos Bravos and the Western Environmental Law Center filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA over its failure to act. On Sept. 16, Amigos Bravos filed a lawsuit after no action was taken. 

 

The environmental group Amigos Bravos claims that some pollutants are more than 10,000 times the public safety limits.
The environmental group Amigos Bravos claims that some pollutants are more than 10,000 times the public safety limits.

The environmental group Amigos Bravos has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding storm water pollution in Los Alamos County, downstream from Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

An article by AP News states “The groups claim the runoff contains heavy metals, byproducts from decaying radioactive elements and manmade chemicals known as PCBs. They say some of the pollutants are more than 10,000 times public safety limits and should be considered a threat to public health.”

In July, the New Mexico Political Report published an article saying Amigos Bravos filed a petition with the EPA in 2014. In June 2019, five years after the initial petition, the water conservation group, along with the Western Environmental Law Center,  filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA over its failure to act.

 “It’s been 1,833 days since we petitioned,” Rachel Conn, projects director at Amigos Bravos, said to the New Mexico Political Report in July. “Under the regulations, they are supposed to respond within 180 days. So, we are close to two thousand days overdue.”

The lawsuit was filed late Monday, Sept. 16, and AP reported that “the groups say the pollution should have triggered federal action to reduce or eliminate discharges through permit requirements but that the EPA failed to act.”

In a commentary by Amigos Bravos for KRWG Public Media, they said The New Mexico Environment Department’s date shows excesses of the state’s PCB human health water quality limits. For example, PCB levels in Los Alamos Canyon are “more than 11,000 times greater than the New Mexico Human Health Water Quality criteria and 51 times greater than the New Mexico Wildlife Habitat water quality criteria.”

The commentary continued by saying that the EPA published a preliminary designation in 2015 stating that the 2014 petition by Amigos Bravos should be granted but no action was taken. 

Read more about storm water pollution and the EPA. 

 

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