EPA Relax Pollution Rules due to Coronavirus
June 26, 2020 | Environmental Litigation
In a controversial move, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would waive certain reporting requirements for companies hit hard by COVID-19.
Normally, companies must report chemical emissions into the air, water, and soil to the EPA.
Agency guidelines now allow these companies to self-regulate.
Many companies claimed that compliance with emissions declarations was impractical, largely because of increased demand and decreased staff due to coronavirus.
Rather than “seek[ing] penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting,” the agency said it would focus exclusively “on situations that may create an acute risk or imminent threat to public health or the environment.”
Former EPA chief Gina McCarthy, who led the agency during the Obama years, said “this brazen directive is nothing short of an abject abdication of the E.P.A. mission to protect our well being.”
On the other hand, former George W. Bush EPA compliance director Granta Nakayama said the new rules were “straightforward and sensible.”
Common Environmental Poisoning Claims
The revised EPA rules affect victims and potential victims during the coronavirus pandemic in basically two ways.
First, because of the reduced reporting requirements, many individuals might not know that their environments are poisonous.
Additionally, the reduced requirements might mean that fewer records are immediately available. So, a New York personal injury attorney must be more diligent than ever.
Environmental poisoning claims vary significantly in terms of size and scope.
Some affect thousands of people at once and others affect individual families. Regardless of the nature of the claim, substantial compensation might be available.
Perfluorooctanoic acid and associated chemicals form a barrier between two substances.
So, PFOA is widely used in consumer products, like teflon, and industrial products, like firefighting foam.
This chemical is also very stable. Once introduced to a substance, PFOA often remains there for many decades, regardless of how the product is used.
Unfortunately, the same thing occurs when PFOA leaks into groundwater.
Additionally, PFOA is incredibly toxic. Even minute amounts have been linked to liver disease, testicular cancer, and a number of other serious, chronic illnesses.
There is evidence that DuPont Chemical knew about these ill effects as early as 1961.
Yet the company failed to do anything about the problem, or even notify the EPA about it, for several decades.
The combination of PFOA’s dangers and corporate callousness means that substantial compensation is usually available for PFOA exposure victims.
Many people think that lead poisoning is a thing of the past.
But try telling that to residents of Flint, Michigan or many of New York City’s public housing projects.
In the late 2000s, Flint officials unveiled a plan to channel water from Lake Huron to city residents. In the meantime, the Flint River would provide citizens with drinking water.
This liquid passed through corroding pipes which allowed lead to leach into drinking water.
Meanwhile, in the New York public housing system, years of neglect have resulted in elevated lead levels in many projects.
Lead poisoning has been conclusively linked to developmental delays.
Once these children fall behind in school, they are unable to catch up, mostly because of impaired brain activity.
“These children have been pushed so far down now they cannot ever achieve what was expected of them,” remarked Napoli Law partner Hunter Shkolnik.
When miners and engineers first stumbled upon this fibrous mineral, it was hailed as a miracle mineral.
It was cheap, plentiful, and efficient.
Soon, however, asbestos manufacturers discovered this mineral had a dark side. It was one of the most toxic substances on earth.
One microscopic fiber can cause serious diseases like mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of heart/lung cancer.
Mesothelioma’s latency period might be as long as forty-five years. So, many mesothelioma victims are seriously ill but they do not know it.
In the 1980s, many asbestos manufacturers declared bankruptcy due to the overwhelming number of legal claims.
The federal courts allowed the bankru[tcies on the condition that these companies fund an asbestos trust fund for victims.
Today, this fund contains billions of dollars. A dedicated attorney helps ensure that victims receive a fair-sized piece of this financial pie.
In all these situations, damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Additional punitive damages are available as well, if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally disregarded a known risk.
Environmental poisoning victims are often entitled to substantial compensation.
For a free consultation with an experienced New York personal injury attorney, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We handle environmental poisoning cases on a nationwide basis.
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