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Win in District Court on Phosphorus Pollution

Plaintiffs I represent scored a major legal victory as the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois at the end of March held that NRDC, Prairie Rivers Network and Sierra Club could sue the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for discharges of phosphorus that cause or contribute to violations of water quality standards in the Chicago, Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers. Especially combined with the decision of the Illinois Appellate Court in February that Illinois EPA must prevent violations of standards through readily enforceable NPDES permits, this decision will serve to 1) reduce greatly phosphorus pollution from one of the largest sources in the basin, 2) strongly encourage development of numeric nutrient water quality standards as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences report, and 3) cause watershed groups to be formed that will address habitat loss and nutrient pollution from agricultural sources as well as point sources of nutrient pollution.

Judge Tharp's decision can be read at:

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