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A group litigating variances to Montana’s water quality standards petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency Monday claiming a new state law runs counter to the agency’s authority to approve or disprove changes under the Clean Water Act and is a risk to the state’s waterways.

Montana is the first state to adopt and then withdraw numeric standards for nutrient pollution. 

The algae bloom blankets large sections of the river, which can suffocate small fish and insects living there. 

Afterbay Dam, seen here discharging a flow of about 11,000 cubic feet per second, adds a lot of nitrogen to the waters of the Bighorn River, a…