Water — US polluters are greatly exceeding permits
|August 17, 2002||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Bush Won’t Pursue Corporate Criminals
Thirty percent of US polluters are greatly exceeding permits
Here are some corporate criminals. But the wimpy Bush administration is deciding not to pursue them.
This was an important test of whether Bush is sincere about bringing lawbreakers to justice. And he failed the test badly.
Here are some excerpts from a recent article published by www.edie.net
Thirty percent of polluters in the US were in serious violation of the Clean Water Act for at least one quarter during a recent 15-month period, according to a new report.
The publication of the report by the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) follows analysis of publicly available government information on pollution discharges. The report also reveals that 134 major facilities were in significant non-compliance for the entire 15-month period of the study.
In order to be considered to be in significant non-compliance, a facility must discharge a pollutant in excess of its permit limit by 40% for a month, or by 20% for two months. Discharge figures can be either actual or averaged out for the full month. Other methods for qualifying for significant non-compliance include failure to submit a discharge monitoring report after 30 days.
The top ten states with the highest percentage of facilities in significant non-compliance are: Utah, Texas, Tennessee, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Indiana, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Kansas and Ohio.
On top of this problem, PIRG also points out that regulators have failed to progressively lower permitted amounts of pollution in order to move toward the zero-discharge goal of the Clean Water Act. One out of every four facilities is operating on an expired permit.
The PIRGs findings are backed up by a recent survey by the National Resources Defence Council which revealed that beach closures due to pollution were up by 19% in 2001 over the previous year.
These findings have been revealed at the same time that the Bush Administration is proposing to cut the Environmental Protection Agencys (EPAs) budget for enforcement.
To make the situation worse, the EPA has announced that it will seek to alter a key Clean Water Act anti-pollution program, making clean-up activities voluntary. The voluntary aspect of the scheme could weaken the program that has left 44% of the countrys water bodies in a polluted state, reports the Washington Post.
It is outrageous that the Bush Administration is proposing to slash enforcement budgets when nearly 30% of polluting facilities are breaking the law, said US PIRG Environmental Advocate Richard Caplan. With widespread violations of the law, this is no time for the Bush administration to take cops off the beat.
In the light of the reports findings, the PIRG makes four key recommendations in order to make progress towards the goals of the Clean Water Act. These are:
- penalties should be set to prevent polluters from profiting by breaking the law;
- citizens should be able to sue for past violations and federal facility exemptions should be removed, as well as other obstacles to court action;
- facilities discharging into ground and surface waters must submit regular, comprehensive data that are easily available to the public; and
- protection for employee whistleblowers must be strengthened.
More on humanity’s Common Assets
We need a leader who wants clean water for all Americans and is willing to enforce the law against corporate violators. We need a leader who isn’t afraid to stand up to criminals. Instead, Bush wants to weaken the laws that already do only a minimal job of protecting America’s water. What’s your opinion? Tell The Progress Report!