CINCINNATI (AP) — A commission that watches over the Ohio River’s health across six states has voted to make some of its pollution standards for the river voluntary.
The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission approved the change Thursday. It allows states along the river to decide whether to opt out of the additional regional water quality standards already in place.
Several environmental groups say they’re worried that changes to the standards could weaken water quality protection for the river that provides drinking water for 5 million people.
The National Wildlife Federation says the standards help make sure states don’t harm areas of the river that are downstream.
Supporters of the changes say they won’t affect water quality and point out that the federal Clean Water Act already sets standards for the river.