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Demand cleaner water

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Friday, May 2, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

As an individual who is passionate about protecting the waterways of Western Pennsylvania, I found that the news story “Trib investigation reveals gaping holes in water oversight” illuminated some of the major issues Pennsylvania has in regard to water pollution oversight.

The state Department of Environmental Protection claims it is doing everything in its power to curtail pollution from working its way into our waterways, but the facts tell a story to the contrary. Inconsistent oversight of facilities, half of which create industrial or livestock waste products, coupled with an increase in toxic spills polluting the Ohio River, points to the fact that the DEP and state lawmakers need to bolster regulations to protect the waterways citizens need to survive.

Without this strengthening of regulations, there is a likelihood that the number of toxic spills will increase. In addition, the number of facilities operating with no oversight is likely to increase as well. It is up to the citizens of Pennsylvania to demand a higher standard of water-quality regulation. Without this demand, I believe the status quo will remain in full effect.

Maurice L. Speaks

The writer is a program assistant with Three Rivers Waterkeeper (

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