U.S. Easy on Polluters

"Aquathin OP-ED Commentary"

Today I am in the beautiful Florida Keys. For those of you who are not aware of the Keys, these are islands below mainland Florida.

You can actually drive down the main highway and see the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico at the same time.

I am here visiting Chris Hope and Rick Prather of Windy Day Plumbing, the Authorized Aquathin Dealer for the central islands.

In fact I just left Chris after dinner and received this article concerning 26% of the nation's largest facilities failing compliance.

Here's the major question---what is the percentage failing less than "seriously"!?!?!?!

You all will be pleased to know that Aquathin is representing the environmental sector of the U.S. Commerce Department

at the EcoLatina Expo in Brasil in October.

Much of what we bring to the table will come from the interesting articles we have sent to you all in the recent past.

By the way, Chris is taking me fishing tomorrow. I hope the catch will be as goood as the beer and sandwiches.


Report: US easy on polluters


WASHINGTON — A new report blames the government's "lax enforcement of Clean Water Act" as it claims that 26 percent of the

nation's largest facilities have been in serious violation of the Clean Water Act at least once during a recent 15-month period.

The report, "Polluter's Playground: How the Government Permits Pollution," compiled by the US Public Interest Research Group (US

PIRG), analyzed the behavior of major facilities nationwide by reviewing violations of the Clean Water Act between October 1998

and December 1999 recorded in the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Permit Compliance System database.

Overall, 26 percent of the US' largest facilities have recently violated the Act, which aimed to make waterways fishable and swimmable

by 1983, and to achieve zero discharge of pollutants to waterways by 1985. According to the report, 40 percent of US surface waters

do not meet the required standard this year.

Among the other major claims in the report:

1. The 10 states with the highest percentage of major facilities in significant noncompliance (SNC) were Utah, Tennessee, Ohio,

Vermont, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, Rhode Island, Nebraska and Indiana.

2. A total of 159 major facilities were in SNC during the entire 15-month period.

3. Of the 42 industrial facilities in SNC for the entire 15-month period, the EPA records indicate only one received a fine during the past five years.

To bring about consistent compliance with permits and move toward the zero-discharge goals of the Clean Water Act, US PIRG recommends:

1. Setting tougher penalties that are high enough to remove any economic incentive for polluters to break the law and to deter lawbreaking in the first place.

2. Allowing citizens full access to the courts, including removing current rules that bar citizens from suing federal facilities.

3. Expanding the public's right to know by requiring submissions of comprehensive data by facilities that discharge into waterways and

easy accessibility of that data through online Internet searches.

"It is outrageous that the Bush administration is proposing to slash enforcement budgets when more than one in four polluting facilities

are breaking the law," said US PIRG Environmental Advocate Richard Caplan. "We need clean water now, and we have to start by

requiring polluters to obey the law. We urge Congress and the President to listen to the public's demands for clean water.



Think Aquathin..AquathinK !!

Edited from Tech Bank 5/30/01