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Sierra Club Seeks Federal Action over Impaired Waters List

The state of Missouri missed the deadline for submitting its list of Impaired Waterways to the federal government. The Sierra Club is asking the federal government to step in. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Every two years, the state of Missouri must prepare and submit a list of impaired waterways in the state.

The last time the state released such a list was in 2002.

Ken Midkiff is the conservation chair of the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club.

He sent the Environmental Protection Agency a letter October 24th, asking the EPA to create the list itself since Missouri failed to compile the list by the deadline: April, 2004.

Midkiff says the list is vital in determining which waterways in Missouri are safe for their designated uses.

For that reason, Ken Midkiff says it's important to get that list generated as soon as possible.

Officials with the state Department of Natural Resources have an explanation for why it's taking so long to produce the 2004 list of impaired waterways.

Phil Schroeder is the chief of the Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Section of the Water Protection Program.

He says in 2004, the Clean Water Commission asked the department to create a new way of processing the data before developing the 2004 list.

By the time the department created the new data analysis method, it was September 2004.

Schroeder predicts the state won't have the 2004 list completed until the end of 2006, the same year the state is due to create a new list of impaired waters.

Schroeder says the state is in a difficult position and is asking the federal government to allow the state to create just one list.

But that isn't good enough for Ken Midkiff of the Sierra Club.

He says the federal government should step in because without an up-to-date list, the public doesn't know which waterways are safe for recreational activities.

Midkiff says he'd prefer to have the state compile its own list of impaired waterways but since the state has been unable to do that, he hopes the EPA will take over.

But the state's water quality chief Phil Schroeder says the EPA couldn't finish the list more quickly than the state at this point.

There is no penalty for the state's failure to meet the deadline and Ken Midkiff says that's unfortunate.

Midkiff says EPA officials in the Kansas City, Kansas office have agreed to meet with him in mid-November to discuss his concerns.