ALERT: WY Regulates to Increase Pollution in its Streams

July 31, 2015
Jonathan Ratner, Western Watersheds Project (877) 746-3628
Travis Bruner, Western Watersheds Project (208) 788-2290

Wyoming Regulates to Increase Pollution in its Streams

Lander, WY - The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has revised the state's water quality standards on 76 percent of the state's stream mileage to allow five times more fecal coliform bacteria in the water. The new standards allow 630 colony-forming units of Escherichia coli ("E. coli") per 100 milliliters of water, far in excess of what the Environmental Protection Agency consider the upper limit of safety for human contact, 126 colony forming units in the same volume of water. Thus, the majority of Wyoming's waters will now be unsafe for swimming, let alone drinking, according to national standards.

"Allowing cows to poop with impunity in Wyoming's streams is apparently more of a priority than human health in the Cowboy State," said Travis Bruner, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project, a non-profit conservation organization that conducts water quality sampling to monitor the effects of livestock grazing impacts on public lands. 

Jonathan Ratner, Wyoming Director for the group, has been sampling water quality on public lands for over a decade. He says that the new standards ensure that many violations caused by livestock grazing will now be just fine. "I thought it was bad that these streams had two or three times the legal limit of E. coli before, but WY has effectively made highly contaminated water perfectly legal throughout much of the state." 

"The new standards are just part of a package for boot-licking the livestock industry," said Bruner. "Last spring's anti-monitoring legislation and last year's lawsuit against conservation groups collecting water quality data are all part of the same agenda of letting the livestock industry have its way with the public trust."  


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Western Watersheds Project, Inc
PO Box 1770
Hailey, Idaho 83333

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