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Would Kavanaugh's SCOTUS Nomination Endanger MO Waterways?

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Mercury and other pollutants threaten fishing in many of Missouri's waterways. (Tanya Impeartrice/Flickr)
Mercury and other pollutants threaten fishing in many of Missouri's waterways. (Tanya Impeartrice/Flickr)
September 6, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Could Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court mean more polluted waterways in Missouri?

The state chapter of the Sierra Club believes so, pointing to a ruling Kavanaugh says is one of his "most significant."

In 2014, Kavanaugh argued the EPA should have considered monetary costs when it implemented regulations on mercury and other harmful emissions from power plants.

Former Missouri Department of Natural Resources employee Jennifer Conner says the state lists more than 60 polluted waterways, and mercury is a major concern, especially contamination in fish. It's led to fish advisories for sensitive groups such as Conner, who is pregnant.

"That's definitely a huge concern, especially in the Ozarks where fishing is a way of life and you don't really think about the negative health impacts that can occur from fishing," she states.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services suggests people in sensitive groups only eat certain fish caught in Missouri waters once a month.

In the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court case on EPA mercury regulations, Kavanaugh ruled against the majority.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately sided with Kavanaugh in a 5-to-4 decision.

Conner says Missouri's sensitive topography, where surface and water mix, makes protections even more important so that drinking water stays safe. She's not convinced Kavanaugh will look out for Missourians' health if he is confirmed.

"I would like to think that we are putting people on the Supreme Court that make decisions based on a set of ethics that protect human health and the environment, and obviously, based on his past decisions in which he has sided with industry on these issues, he's not the sort of leader that we want in that position," she states.

Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing continues Thursday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MO