Calif. Passes Landmark Water Pollution Plan

Federal regulators have accepted a landmark California program to\r\ncut water pollution from runoff through voluntary measures, outreach\r\nprograms and enforcement.

Federal regulators have accepted a landmark California program to cut water pollution from runoff through voluntary measures, outreach programs and enforcement.

Environmental and industry representatives joined state and federal officials at a news conference Monday to praise the plan, which they called a comprehensive solution to fighting a problem that sickens beachgoers, hurts wildlife and taints drinking water.

The program, which officials said is the first of its kind in the country, covers sources of both coastal and inland water pollution. It details more than 60 pollution-fighting measures, such as erosion and sediment control.

It will cost approximately $14 billion in public and private funds over the next 30 years, according to the California Resources Agency (CRA).

About $300 million will come from water and park bonds state voters approved in March. The state also will receive $10.6 million in federal Clean Water Act funds.

Enforcement efforts would focus on companies who refused to change their operations to comply with the program.

Runoff is believed to be the cause of approximately 70 percent of water pollution, according to CRA.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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