Newshour: Clean Water

News segment concerning the Clean Water Act and its effect on plans for a landfill in the Chicago suburbs. Covers the US Army Corps of Engineers opposition to the landfill, and the resulting court cases.

0:15Copy video clip URL Elizabeth Brackett opens the segment with a voice-over about an abandoned strip-mining site that was bought by a group of Chicago suburbs to use as a landfill. George Van Dusen explains the reasons behind the decision. “We wanted to construct the nation’s most environmentally-safe, high-tech landfill.”

0:53Copy video clip URL Footage of a protest against the landfill. Mary Byrne, environmental activist, comments on the destruction that comes with putting a garbage dump in the middle of a forest.

1:19Copy video clip URL Brackett talks about how the local issue was brought to the national level by the US Army Corps of Engineers’ refusal to issue a permit to fill the area. Refusal was based on parts of the Clean Water Act.

1:40Copy video clip URL Howard Learner, an environment lawyer, touches upon how the Clean Water Act was brought into the equation. Van Dusen and Brackett further discuss the area’s ponds, and the effect on migratory birds.

2:49Copy video clip URL Interview with environmental consultant George Noble. He explains that the area is special because it is one of the last places in Northern Illinois that Great Blue Herons can nest. Van Dusen doesn’t feel that the area is “a pristine, forested area. [It] is not Yosemite National Park, or The Grand Canyon, or some national treasure. It’s an abandoned strip mine.”

3:35Copy video clip URL Segment moves on to the suburbs’ suing of the Corps. Van Dusen talks about the difficult place himself and his fellow mayors are in. He feels that they have been environmentally cautious, but the District Court decided against them. Van Dusen elaborates on why he disagrees with the court’s decision, citing their broad jurisdiction.

4:49Copy video clip URL Noble explains why it is so important for the Corps to have such power. “If the Corps loses, what is lost is control over isolated waters… Navigable waterways and wetlands adjacent to [them] constitute only 15% of the wetland that forms habitat for water birds.” The mayors took their case to the Supreme Court, and Van Dusen claims that seasonal ponds should not fall under the Corps’ jurisdiction.

5:54Copy video clip URL A lawyer in favor of the landfill gives a statement accusing the Federal Government of overstepping its bounds in refusing to issue the permit. Followed by a response from a lawyer on the opposing side.

7:03Copy video clip URL Voice-over from Brackett gives the time within which the court will decide. End of clip.




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