Monday, November 19, 2001

Tiny fish subject of pollution case

The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — Tiny fathead minnows are the focus of a federal court case over new pollutant limits that could be imposed if they are used to test the toxicity of the Ohio River and Great Lakes.

        The court fight in Cincinnati pits the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against heavy industry and some of the Midwest's largest cities and sewer districts.

        Akron, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland have all filed suit in federal court.

        The EPA could levy fines if minnows are lost to death or disease during the tests, potentially forcing Ohio and other Great Lakes states to comply with new clean-water rules.

        The EPA imposed the minnow tests at the end of the Clinton administration on top of clean-water rules that require any company or municipal wastewater plants discharging into the Great Lakes to check for hazardous chemicals.

        The Ohio cities, as well as refineries, power companies and steel mills along the Lake Michigan shoreline near Chicago, filed suit asking the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to stop the EPA from imposing new discharge limits.


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- Tiny fish subject of pollution case