Tuesday, August 22, 2017

EPA sued over lack of chemical spill prevention efforts

The Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA), People Concerned About Chemical Safety, and the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday over its failure to adopt regulations preventing chemical spills, an issue they say particularly affects low-income and minority communities.

"The EPA has ignored Congress' mandate to address toxic storage tanks for over 40 years," EJHA Co-coordinator Michele Roberts said. "Our communities are always the most exposed and the least protected. We demand action, and have no other choice but to take EPA to court to get it."

The suit argues that the EPA’s lack of regulations in this area is a violation of the Clean Water Act, and cites nearly 1,300 incidents documented by the Coast Guard National Response Center from 2005 to 2014. Of particular note is the Elk River spill in West Virginia that poisoned the drinking water of 300,000 people.

"Hazardous substance spills pose a significant public health threat, particularly to those who live in low-income communities and communities of color," People Concerned About Chemical Safety spokesperson Pam Nixon said. "Had this regulation been enacted in a timely manner, the Elk River spill could have been prevented."

Organizations in this story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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