Court Orders Environmental Protection Agency to Finalize Rules so Polluters Pay for Their Own Toxic Messes
The nation just observed Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and with horrible irony, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of trashing King’s legacy.
“The single greatest determinant of where certain kinds of toxic sources are located, like hazardous waste facilities, is race, and yet [the EPA has] never once made a finding of discrimination, and they very rarely use any of the other tools at their disposal to push states or localities or private actors to change their behavior,” says Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engelman Lado.
Recently, Southern California air quality regulators finally issued an enforcement order directing Southern California Gas Company (“SoCal Gas”) to permanently shutter its leaking underground natural gas well near Porter Ranch, where a massive methane leak is spewing thousands of pounds of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere every hour.
Christine Qubain Ernst is an associate attorney in the New York City location of the Northeast regional office.
"[EPA regulators] are always on the defensive so that they are sort of paralyzed into inaction," Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engelman Lado told Truthout. "Which candidate is going to step up to the plate and say that, in addition to environmental laws, we have to have fairness in the distribution of toxic sources, and we will no longer allow this lawlessness of dumping on communities of color?"