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Environmental watchdog calls Great Lakes report card “horrific”

Aaron Selbig

Over 4,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline assessed by the Environmental Protection Agency have been deemed impaired.

A new EPA report found miles of Great Lakes shoreline and open water are contaminated by PCBs, dioxin, mercury, and pesticides.

Kyla Bennett is with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an environmental watchdog. She said the data are particularly concerning for the open water of the lakes.

“Very little of the area has been assessed but the areas that have been assessed are getting failing grades.”

Bennett said the report identified the majority of pollutants as coming from the air, what scientists call “atmospheric deposition.”

“I think the fact that most of this pollution is front atmospheric deposition sends a very strong message that EPA needs to get back into the business of regulating, rather than delegating everything to the states.”

Bennett said the report shows that even the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative just isn’t enough.

“Given how important and critical the Great Lakes are to not just the region but the country it is horrific that they are so impaired.”

The EPA report showed of the 86% of Great Lakes shoreline surveyed 97% was deemed impaired.