Air Quality / Environmental Justice / EPA / Good Neighbor Campaigns

Ohio town, solid for Trump, now frets over EPA slowdown

Roberta Pratt outside her home in East Liverpool, Ohio. She said she doesn’t have the money to move away from the nearby industrial facilities. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

EAST LIVERPOOL — “In Ohio, a change in state law that was tucked into a budget bill this year cut funding for an inspector in East Liverpool, even as Ohio authorities found continued evidence of air pollution violations at the Heritage Thermal incinerator, according to state records obtained by The Times.

Ohio Environmental Services Industry, a trade group that represents Heritage Thermal and a handful of other hazardous waste companies, pushed for the change. The group said the facility would receive sufficient oversight without the dedicated state inspector.

The changes across the country, some lawyers suggest, are giving violators an upper hand in negotiating with the E.P.A.

Paul Calamita, who represents cities accused of violating the Clean Water Act when they release sewage and contaminated storm water into rivers and lakes, recommends that clients team up with state governments to push back against the E.P.A.

Under President Trump, Mr. Calamita said, the E.P.A. and the Department of Justice have been willing to compromise, withdrawing a six-figure penalty in one instance after refusing to do so in two previous rounds of negotiations during the Obama administration.”

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