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Above the Law in California

Thursday, July 29, 1999

Above the Law in California

How California's Major Air Polluters Get Away With It


View and Download the report here: Above the Law in California
Two years after a federal investigation found California’s clean air enforcement programs inadequate to stop big polluters, an Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis shows that many of the state’s largest industrial facilities continue to break the law and pay fines too small to deter repeat offenses.
EWG’s analysis of recently released enforcement records finds a clear and persistent pattern of violations of federal and state clean air laws in five major California industries — oil and chemical refineries, pulp and paper mills, auto plants, iron and steelmaking and metal smelters. Since 1996, three-fourths of the California facilities in those categories surveyed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had at least one violation of state or federal clean air regulations or paid a fine to settle an earlier violation. By EPA’s standard, three out of four violations were significant, meaning they triggered orders to take corrective action.
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