Nov. 4, 2007 Press Release
EPA CRITICIZES CALIFORNIA’S LAX POLLUTION PERMITS
(San Francisco) On October 31 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a report criticizing California’s water pollution permits. EPA agreed to perform an audit of randomly selected permits as a condition of a settlement reached in a lawsuit brought by San Francisco Baykeeper, Communities for a Better Environment and Ecological Rights Foundation in 2006.
San Francisco Baykeeper, Humboldt Baykeeper, Communities for a Better Environment and Ecological Rights Foundation sued EPA in 2006 to require the agency to stop California’s Water Boards from including loopholes in pollution permits that effectively exempt large industrial polluters and cities’ sewage plants from having to meet deadlines for pollution limits.
These extensions allowed major dischargers, such as the Tesoro oil refinery, to discharge elevated levels of toxic pollutants such as mercury, dioxin, chlorinated organic pesticides, and PCBs, which are dangerous to both human beings and aquatic species. The Water Boards are tasked with enforcing clean water laws to protect sensitive waterways such as San Francisco, San Diego and Humboldt Bays, the Sacramento, American and San Joaquin Rivers and Santa Monica Bay, which are already listed by California and EPA as severely degraded with toxic pollutants.