Employees within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have a more realistic moniker for their agency – Everything’s Polluted Anyway, a name which explains EPA’s cautious inaction in the face of serious pollution threats.
In the last PEERmail, we called attention to an Inspector General (IG) report calling EPA to task for failing to ensure consistent or effective anti-pollution enforcement in state-delegated programs.
Unfortunately, this is only one of a series of IG reports tagging EPA for failing to do its basic job of protecting the public. Here are a few more—
- EPA has yet to complete a toxicity assessment of the deadly asbestos debacle in Libby, Montana. At Libby, the IG is not blameless. It sat on its own report showing major public health risks in the cleanup for more than three years until PEER sued it loose;
- EPA has to issue final guidance for dealing with deadly vapor intrusion. This allows states like New Jersey, which has big vapor intrusion problems, to walk away from addressing them. Meanwhile, communities near toxic hotspots must cope with poisoned basements; and
- EPA still has no strategy to get states to adopt enforceable, quantifiable clean water standards. In the very few places EPA has acted, it has put forward ineffectively low thresholds and then retreated from there.
The list of these reports goes on and on. Significantly, EPA has yet to implement the key corrective recommendation in each one of these reports.PEER is working with concerned EPA employees and their state counterparts. There is a lot of work to do. Please help us.
Executive Director, PEER
P.S. Another basic duty EPA is ignoring is to enforce the conflict of interest rules for the Clean Water Act. These rules help prevent polluters from taking over the permit process. Please sign our petition asking EPA to do its job.
P.P.S. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, we had to file a lawsuit to force EPA to admit that more than a score of Superfund-eligible toxic sites were left in regulatory limbo in just the past five years. The number of orphaned sites is growing – and that’s just in New Jersey. It now appears that EPA has a toxic broom closet in every state.