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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7ca0000Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, Harvest covers agriculture-related topics through a network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Like Harvest Public Media on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @HarvestPM.

Federal Court Sides With EPA On Clean Water Challenge

Luke Runyon, file photo
Harvest Public Media
The headwaters of the South Platte River emerge near Bailey, Colorado. As the river meanders through farm country, it picks up chemicals, sediment and debris, impacting its quality.

A federal court has sided with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and against environmental groups in a case the groups had hoped would hasten water clean-up efforts.

The Gulf Restoration Network and environmental groups from Mississippi River watershed states argued the EPA needs to enforce more specific water quality standards. But, on appeal, a U.S. District Court ruled the Clean Water Act leaves that authority to the states.

Iowa Environmental Council’s Susan Heathcote says that’s going to put more pressure on local efforts.

"We know that increased leadership from the EPA to enforce the Clean Water Act is probably less likely with the upcoming Trump administration, so we are looking at all of our options including new litigation," Heathcote says.

Heathcote says already the EPA has settled a suit with the state of Missouri, agreeing to enforce standards for water quality in lakes there.