By John Burton
Clean Ocean Action, (COA) has joined other national and local environmental groups in filing a notice of intent to sue the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleging the agency has failed to adopt water quality criteria to protect against pollution at beaches.
Clean Ocean Action, an environmental protection and advocacy organization headquartered at Fort Hancock, is participating in the legal action along with Hackensack Riverkeeper, Heal The Bay, Natural Resources Council, NY/NJ Baykeeper and the Riverkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance, which are charging that the EPA is not adhering to the requirements put forth in the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act, approved by the U.S. Congress in 2000, intended to protect beach goers from illness caused pollution and accompanying pathogens.
According to information provided by Clean Ocean Action, there were more than 23,000 beach closings and heath advisory days in 2011 and more than two-thirds of them were for high levels of bacteria, primarily from the presence of human and animal waste.
The EPA press office said it had no comment on the proposed litigation.