Column: Flushing dollars down the drain

(Marion) Chronicle-Tribune

In a rare instance of an aptly named government entity, the Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with protecting the environment. But we don’t think this means at all costs and against all common sense.

While the agency has its merits, as the price tag of its mandates shoot up — with little to no financial support provided or available — the EPA too often strangles local governments while those skyrocketing costs are passed on to citizens.

That is clearly the case in Grant County, as Fairmount and Marion must make expensive updates, which in Fairmount’s case could cost as much as $30 million through out the next 20 years while Marion Municipal Utilities ratepayers are paying for $32 million in improvements.

No one likes or embraces the idea of raw sewage making its way into public bodies of water. In towns with older sewer systems, sanitary and stormwater lines are combined — meaning raw sewage can discharge into local waterways, Back Creek, in Fairmount’s case, during storms.

However, we have survived with combined sewer overflows and occasional sewage in the water for decades, so to mandate towns of 3,000 pay upward of $30 million is big, out-of-touch government at its worst.

It’s not good long-term planning, just more federal bullying that’s driving many cities and towns deeper into the red.

The EPA needs to step back and swallow a clear dose of common sense or else it should just change its name to Everyone Pays A lot.

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