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Coalition Challenges Idaho Water Quality Rules

Calling Idaho’s law one of the nation’s weakest regulators of water pollution, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Pocatello on Tuesday asking the court to set aside Environmental Protection Agency approval of new Idaho anti-degradation rules.

Coalition legal associate Andrea Santarsiere claims the state’s law is in direct conflict with the Clean Water Act and fails to protect the state’s most pristine rivers, streams and lakes.

“This rule puts our best trout fisheries and drinking water supplies at great risk,” said Santarsiere.

She added, “That isn’t in the best interest of any Idahoan, whether they fish, farm, float or simply rely on clean water for drinking.”

The coalition claims one of the most immediate threats comes from a proposed dam in the Oneida Narrows section of the Bear River that could harm one of the last strongholds of the Bonneville cutthroat trout. It says additional threats lie in the southeast Idaho phosphate mining district, where toxic selenium is released into prime trout habitat.

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