NPR and the Center For Public Integrity team up for a four part series "Poison Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities" kicking it off with the release of an EPA "secret watch list:"
Pollution violations at more than 1,600 plants across the country were serious enough that the government believes they require urgent action, according to an analysis of EPA data by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity. Yet nearly 300 of those facilities have been considered "high priority violators" of the Clean Air Act by the Environmental Protection Agency for at least a decade.
About a quarter of those 1,600 violators are on an internal EPA "watch list," which the agency has kept secret until now.
The report cites a "lack of modern equipment and rules" and a "system of self-reporting" as major contributors to the rampant, serial pollution that's continuing to threaten communities and lives. They're exactly right, but industry propaganda spins out fear and misinformation to the masses by claiming that increased regulation and equipment updating will result in a "loss of jobs and unnecessary rate hikes."
What these industry disinformation spin masters leave off is the documented increase in costs to Americans for health care, higher mortality rates and the overall increasing toll on human health from less stringent regulation and oversight. These industry apologists would have us believe that profits by the polluters trump citizen's rights to clean communities.
That idea came about during the Bush era EPA which instituted a steady decrease in the value of a human life as a means to institute less regulation.
It was a big lie then and it still is now.
Incredulously, only one Alabama company wound up on the serial offender list: Chemical Lime Company of Alabama in Calera.
Region 4 EPA recently released their 'answers' to the residents of North Birmingham in response to the Walter Energy contamination (Deadly Deception). The 'answers' and explanations from the EPA are couched in generalities and offer no real solutions to the resident's plight.
On the heels of media attention and the environmental justice meeting that occurred in Birmingham this past July, it's our postilion that no one at that meeting heard a word. Inside sources tell us that the meeting was never supposed to be public, and it only went public because of pressure from the right people in positions of influence.
The EPA acts schizophrenic at times, listens to too many voices, contradicts itself and occasionally does things that defy logic unless you're a mental patient. This may be one of those instances. Why do they seem more concerned with keeping secrets and remaining less than transparent in releasing information that serves the public good? There's no excuse for that, but we're interested to hear their explanations.
Allowing these toxic titans to self-police and self-report is inexcusable. So is misleading the public by keeping internal 'secrets' designed to protect corporate America at the expense of citizen America.
*additional reading: "Many Americans Left Behind in the Quest for Cleaner Air"
Air monitoring results N. Birmingham--locations to view data
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