Lawsuit challenges federal industrial stormwater management permit’s failure to control plastic pollution in the United States and protect endangered species


SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity today sued the Environmental Protection Agency and federal wildlife agencies for their approval of a general Clean Water Act permit covering stormwater discharges for thousands of industrial facilities Across the country.

Today’s lawsuit challenges federal permit failure to protect aquatic environment, public health, endangered and threatened species, and critical habitat from plastic and other forms of pollution discharged by industrial rainwater.

“This permit allows industrial polluters to continue to release plastic and other pollutants into our waterways,” said Julie Teel Simmonds, counsel for the Centre’s Oceans program. “Instead of protecting wildlife and public health, the EPA just copied and pasted from its 2015 permit and ignored our recommendations. We are proceeding to force federal officials to consider growing evidence that plastic installations are harming critical habitats and frontline communities. “

The permit covers stormwater discharges into U.S. waters from industrial facilities in 30 categories, including chemical and related manufacturing, rubber and various plastic products, and many more.

The production, transportation and use of plastic in industrial facilities results in the loss of trillions of plastic granules to the environment each year. These plastic pellets are often dumped outdoors, collected in runoff and discharged into surface water. Once in the environment, plastic pellets are persistent and can be transported long distances from their source in surface waters such as streams, rivers and oceans.

This plastic is ingested by fish, sea turtles, birds and marine mammals and becomes embedded in sediment and plant matter. It also introduces toxic plastic additives into the environment, such as bisphenol-A and nonylphenol, and accumulates other toxic chemicals on the surfaces of the granules, such as PCBs and dioxin, which end up in the chain. aquatic food.

Among the hundreds of species covered by the federal license are many threatened and endangered whales, sea turtles, birds and fish.

Strict controls are urgently needed in light of the current boom in plastic production in the United States, according to the Center. According to the American Chemistry Council, the plastics and chemicals industry is investing more than $ 209 billion in the United States for approximately 349 projects, including new facilities and expansions. The facilities are designed to convert an excess supply of fracking gas into petrochemicals and plastics. These new plastics are used to make a variety of products, with single-use items accounting for around 40% of plastic use.

Today’s lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

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