Commanding General of the US Army Corps of Engineers Pledges to Help Congressman Tim Ryan Clean Up the Mahoning River
Washington, DC – At a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water Subcommittee, Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today urged Lieutenant General Scott A. Spellmon of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clean up the Mahoning River. Lt. Gen. Spellmon responded that the US Army Corps would be a partner in helping to get the river restored. Spellmon also said that he had spoken to the US EPA Administrator about finding a way to move forward on the Mahoning River.
“I’ve spent eighteen years working to get this river restored. And one would think that the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers—the two entities tasked with making sure our rivers are clean, safe, and economically productive—would be eager partners in helping our communities clean up the river,” said Rep. Tim Ryan. “It is far past time for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fix this logjam and clean up the Mahoning River for my constituents.”
In 1977, the EPA reported that the average net discharge from the nine major Mahoning River steel plants exceeded 400,000 pounds per day of suspended solids, 70,000 pounds per day of oil and grease, 9,000 pounds per day of ammonia nitrogen, 500 pounds per day of cyanide. The oil discharge alone was equivalent to over 200 barrels of oil per day. To put those numbers in perspective, the 1988 million-gallon Ashland Oil spill on the Monongahela River was characterized as one of the most severe inland oil spills in the nation’s history. By comparison, the much smaller Mahoning River chronically received the equivalent of more than four Ashland oil spills every year for decades.
The authority for the Corps to dredge the Mahoning River exists in Section 312(b) and aquatic-ecosystem restoration is one of the pillars of the US Army Corps’ mission.