Early Successes on Chicago and Roanoke Rivers
It has been an exciting couple of weeks since the release of our 2011 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers™! Things seem to be looking up for the Chicago and Roanoke Rivers. While both rivers still have a ways to go, I wanted to share with you the recent developments.
- The week prior to the release of our report, the U.S. EPA told the Illinois EPA to require disinfection of sewage discharged into the Chicago River.
- Chicago’s new Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was inaugurated the day before the release. The day of our release Mr. Emanuel made a statement of support, “We have a front yard to take care of, which is our lakefront, and we have a backyard to take care of, which is our riverfront.” He is supportive of cleaning up the river.
- The weekend after the report release, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and U.S. Representative Mike Quigley spent the day on the river and spoke about the need for disinfection.
- On Thursday, the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) proposed a new standard that would require disinfection, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) had a serious discussion about changing their policy on disinfection. It sounds like a majority of MWRD Commissioners support disinfection. June 16 both IPCB and MWRD will vote on these decisions.
American Rivers is hopeful that Chicago will be on its way to disinfection soon. The residents of this great city are standing up for their river and demanding a cleaner waterway! Keep it up Chicago! You can still TAKE ACTION to see this through!
- The Roanoke River Basin Bi-State Commission voted to advise the Virginia Legislature to keep the moratorium on uranium mining in effect until the year 2013. The Virginia Legislature is not bound to accept the recommendations of the Roanoke River Basin Bi-State Commission, so there is still more work to be done. This is the first step towards maintaining a moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia for the next two years. Such a moratorium would allow more time to study the impacts that this activity would cause.
American Rivers hopes that wisdom prevails and the Virginia legislature heeds this strong advice. TAKE ACTION NOW to make sure the legislature listens up!
Neither of these successes would be possible without our fantastic partner groups working on the ground to effect change for rivers. We think they are doing a fantastic job spreading the word about this year’s Most Endangered Rivers!