EPA still won’t issue decades-late protections against chemical spills

Credit: Steve Helber/AP Photo

Thousands of hazardous spills from industrial facilities still happen each year, disproportionately impacting low-income communities and communities of color. And yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is standing by its decision to not issue federal safeguards to prevent them. Following decades of delays and an eventual court order, the agency agreed back in 2016 to finalize new chemical spill prevention rules, as required under the Clean Water Act. These protections would reduce the chance of disasters, like the 2014 spill of coal-processing chemicals into Charleston, West Virginia’s Elk River, from impacting nearby drinking water supplies. But now the Trump administration refuses to follow through on even that long-delayed plan. 

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