Former tribal council member says pollution should be key election issue
Daily Globe – Ralph Ansami – 11/2/2013
ODANAH, Wis. - A former tribal council member said Friday he can't understand why the Bad River Indian Reservation's council isn't making inadequate treatment of its sewage more of a priority.
With a tribal election set for Tuesday, Tom Deragon Jr., who said he sat on the tribal council for a year, has put up a sign along U.S. 2, near the Bad River Casino, seeking to "raise community awareness" about the tribe's polluting of the Bad River and Lake Superior.
"Nothing's getting done," he said. "I don't understand why the Environmental Protection Agency isn't coming down harder on this," Deragon said.
Deragon said many other tribal members support his views and his father and brother-in-law helped him put up the sign, which criticizes current tribal chairman Michael Wiggins Jr. for not making a better effort to get the wastewater system into compliance.
"Our kids weren't able to swim this summer because of high E. coli readings," he said, noting Waverly and Madigan beaches on Lake Superior were shut down. He said it was the first time he could recall that happening.
Earlier this year, the EPA ordered the Bad River Band of Chippewa to make upgrades to its wastewater treatment facilities by Jan. 31.
The tribe has received numerous violation citations from the EPA for several years, including failing to meet reporting requirements and failure to comply with effluent requirements for phosporus, E. coli, suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand.
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