Indiana's Big Lake Mistakes Continue

Either the people writing the water quality rules aren't talking with the people writing the waterfront revitalization plans. Or Indiana is faking it when it comes to transitioning the state's environment and economy to compete in the 21st century. Because the state again appears poised to permit a major steel manufacturer to ramp up the pollution it dumps in the Great Lakes.

What's at stake is the viability of perhaps the state's greatest economic asset: Lake Michigan.

What's clear now is that top talent and new companies are increasingly attracted to clean, green, and vibrant cities. Some in Indiana have recognized that trend and, in an effort to boost the prosperity of lagging industrial cities like Gary, begun to advance the Marquette Greenway Plan, an amazingly ambitious effort to redevelop the Lake Michigan waterfront with new marinas, trails, condos, and public spaces.

But who wants to boat, swim, or live on a lake with ever higher levels of grease, chemicals, and heavy metals? That's the increasingly relevant question as the state's environmental regulators consider easing standards designed to minimize lake dumping, as the Chicago Tribune reports today.

"This isn't supposed to be happening," said Dale Bryson, a former water cop at the federal Environmental Protection Agency who now chairs the Allianc for the Great Lakes, told the Chicago Tribune. "The whole purpose behind these laws and rules is to reduce pollution, not allow it to increase."