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Public impeachment hearings in Washington; dreamers protest in Texas; roadless wilderness areas possibly at risk around the country; and an ozone indicating garden, at the North Carolina Governor's Mansion.

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Supreme Court hears DACA arguments, and likely will side with the Trump administration, but doesn't take up a gun manufacturer's appeal. Former SC Gov. Mark Sanford drops out of presidential race; and former President Jimmy Carter recovers from brain surgery.

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Case Study: Clean Water Act is Leaky when Protecting KY Public Health

April 15, 2009

Frankfort, KY – Kentucky is one of the stars in a new report on water pollution. The state is featured as a case study, which reports the affects from changes in federal Clean Water Act protections due to Supreme Court rulings. The study shows that almost 80 percent of the state’s population is drinking, boating, swimming and fishing in polluted waters, or waters at risk of pollution.

Lane Boldman, a director of the Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club, says the mountain top removal mining practice of burying and contaminating streams is allowed, in part, because of those rulings. The practice is carrying a heavy price tag throughout the state, she says.

"The headwaters in my region that I see buried by mountain top removal mines supply the drinking water to the cities in Kentucky – the major cities."

Supporters of changes under Supreme Court rulings say they were important clarifications that helped get long-delayed development projects going that benefit communities, and they believe Congress never intended the Act to cover all bodies of water.

However, Jim Murphy, wetlands & water resources counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, says pollution is seeping through water systems throughout Appalachia.

"It’s really dirtying the water that people rely on, and lowering property values – particularly in some poverty-stricken areas of Appalachia."

The report calls for Congress to update the Act so it once again covers mountain streams and most waters.

The full report, Courting Disaster: How the Supreme Court Has Broken the Clean Water Act and Why Congress Must Fix It, is at www.cleanwateraction.org/files/publications/national/CourtingDisaster-200904.pdf.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - KY