DENVER (AP) – U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to drop a lawsuit against Colorado Springs over contaminated runoff that affects Pueblo County and downstream agriculture.
The Denver Post reports that Lamborn has spoken twice with EPA chief Scott Pruitt about the suit, which was filed in 2016 by the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Pueblo County joined the suit this year.
Colorado Springs insists it is investing $460 million with other municipalities over the next two decades to address the problem.
Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, says he waited until President Donald Trump’s administration took office before approaching the EPA. He said Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator under President Barack Obama, was “a lost cause.”
The EPA declined to comment.
Runoff in Colorado Springs flows into Fountain Creek and south to Pueblo, where it joins the Arkansas River. The Arkansas is heavily used by agriculture in southeast Colorado.
The EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment filed suit in 2016, alleging water quality violations.
Lamborn said he’d like to get the Colorado state agency to abandon the suit. But Dr. Larry Wolk, the department’s executive director and chief medical officer, said the agency believes “these significant violations need to be corrected in order to protect the state’s water quality.”
“It’s not just the EPA, but it’s also the state of Colorado that filed the lawsuit,” said Jane Ard-Smith, chair of the Sierra Club’s Pikes Peak chapter. “The EPA doesn’t go around suing willy-nilly. We’ve seen a history of storm water violations, so I would hope that the congressman would see the value of enforcing clean water laws.”
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