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Howard A. Learner

Two New ELPC Reports, Two Very Different Stories

ELPC has issued two new major reports over the past week that help tell the story of the Midwest environment.

One report presents a positive story: ELPC is highlighting the growing number of Minnesota clean energy supply chain businesses that are spurring job creation and economic growth while accelerating environmental progress.

The second report presents a darker story: How the Trump EPA has backed down from appropriate and necessary environmental enforcement of the Clean Water Act in Region 7, which covers Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and nine tribal nations.

ELPC’s Minnesota Clean Energy Supply Chain Businesses: Good for Jobs, Good for Economic Growth, and Good for Our Environment provides both a policy road map and a directory of 241 Minnesota’s wind power and solar energy businesses. These businesses include local electrical and construction contractors, architects and engineers, and manufacturers that forge windmill blades and create the polysilicon for solar panels. It’s a dynamic sector with a strong track record of growth and job creation.

The Minnesota report is the latest in ELPC’s series of state-by-state breakdowns of the clean energy supply chain businesses in the Midwest states. Next up: ELPC’s updated Iowa report coming in November.

ELPC’s new Analysis of U.S. EPA Region 7’s Clean Water Enforcement: Troubling Trends Put Midwest Water at Risk, unfortunately, paints a less positive picture, of EPA inaction.

When it comes to the EPA fulfilling its enforcement responsibilities these days, ELPC found fewer case initiations, lower civil penalties, and higher rates of significant noncompliance with the Clean Water Act at major facilities. Under President Trump, the EPA’s overall declining resources and lower staffing levels have led to less enforcement and compliance spending. That’s true beyond Region 7, as our Region 5 report found similar findings in the Great Lakes states earlier this year.

The new EPA Region 7 report highlighted six major polluters with water pollution permit violations extending over many days. These are mines, metals processing and lead-based battery plants, and food processing and animal processing plants with multiple Clean Water Act violations, but EPA Region 7 failed to file federal enforcement actions.

The Trump EPA’s Clean Water Act enforcement pullbacks are galling, sad, and just plain wrong. 

The Trump EPA’s Clean Water Act enforcement pullbacks are galling, sad, and just plain wrong. Please send this ELPC report to your favorite policymaker and call for better “tough, but fair” environmental enforcement to protect safe clean water.

Facts matter. Science matters. Ultimately, truth matters when it comes to sound science-based policies that are good for environmental progress and economic growth together.

ELPC has done our homework on the facts in these reports, which we share with you and key policymakers to make a difference going forward. Let’s sustain our effective advocacy to protect people, our communities, and the planet’s health.

Howard A. Learner,

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Howard Learner is an experienced attorney serving as the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. He is responsible for ELPC’s overall strategic leadership, policy direction, and financial platform.

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