Polluters at large

 
Published: Saturday 30 June 2001

one out of every four industrial, municipal and federal facilities in the us have 'significantly' violated the Clean Water Act, says a new report. Moreover, both state agencies and the us environment protection agency ( epa ) have failed to punish these polluters. The report Polluters' Playground: How the Government Permits Pollution was prepared by the us Public Interest Research Group ( pirg ), a watchdog group.

The report was prepared after pirg analysed major facilities nationwide by reviewing violations of the Clean Water Act between October 1998 and December 1999. The violations were recorded in the epa 's Permit Compliance System database, which is not a public record.

The report says that more than 26 per cent of the 1,730 major facilities examined were violating laws. At least 159 major facilities were in significant non-compliance with their water pollution permits. Of the 42 industrial facilities in significant non-compliance, epa has fined only one. The 10 states with the largest number of major facilities violating the act are Texas, Ohio, New York, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, Missouri and Indiana. Almost 1,700 facilities are dumping toxic chemicals into waterbodies in violation of the Clean Water Act due to poor implementation of norms, claims pirg.

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