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But this is not the only - or even the worst - example of industrial pollution in Missouri. The Environment Missouri Research and Policy Center recently released its biannual “Wasting Our Waterways” report, ranking Missouri as 11th in the nation for the highest amount of total developmental toxins discharged in 2012. Those are chemicals that affect the reproductive and developmental ability of an organism, including animals and people.

The Upper Black River region, in eastern Missouri, ranked as the fourth most polluted in the nation for developmental toxins.

And Tyson Foods was named the biggest polluter in Missouri, at its Sedalia plant, and among the biggest polluters in the country.

The report, gathered from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory, self-reported by polluting facilities, calls for industries to switch from toxic chemicals to safer alternatives whenever possible. But it also points out that court cases brought by those polluters have gutted some of the Clean Water Act protections in Missouri and the nation.

The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed a rule to close the loopholes that have left Missouri’s waterways at risk and restore Clean Water Act protections. The proposed rule would expand the definition of waterways under the act. Polluting industries have vigorously opposed that rule.

Strengthening federal and state laws is an important tool to enforcement, but a better step would be for governments to work with polluting industries to encourage and support use of safer alternatives.

Forcing polluters to pay penalties for such incidents as the Clear Creek fish kill is one way to do that, but we must also seek more proactive efforts.

Protecting our environment and our economy must be mutual goals. We cannot protect one at the expense of the other.