Response to River Request Is No Daley-ism - NBC Chicago
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Response to River Request Is No Daley-ism



    Response to River Request Is No Daley-ism

    Friday's response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordering the Chicago and Calumet Rivers cleaned gave us a glimpse of life after Mayor Daley.

    On Thursday, after recommending for years that Illinois upgrade its quality standards for the waterway system, the EPA issued a warning to Illinois to meet new standards and make the rivers safe enough for people to swim in them.

    In turn, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District on Friday suggested it's not worth taxpayer dollars to improve the rivers' water quality. Terrence O’Brien, the board president, pointed to tough economic shortfalls and brushed off the demand.

    The feds are used to hearing no when it comes to spending big bucks on cleaning the rivers, which have lived through Chicago's industrial past of Chicago, not to mention the river's reversing history.

    But nothing compares to Daley's response when this issue came up last year.

    The Chicago mayor was a little less subtle than O'Brien and told the feds to "go swim in the Potomac."

    "The federal government should take a look out their window and figure out what the Potomac is all about, first of all," Daley said after the Obama administration filed a letter with the Illinois Pollution Control Board, calling for efforts to make the Chicago River safe for swimmers.

    "It's an unfunded mandate," Daley said. "The federal government is not in the business of cleaning up rivers in this country."

    Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has said he supports the EPA’s orders to improve the rivers' water quality.