Responsibility for river pollution | Notice
PPG Industries was fined $ 1.2 million for using the Allegheny River for 50 years as a toxic glass dump. The settlement is the result of a nearly ten-year trial, the resolution of which includes the construction and maintenance of a water treatment system. This decision hits the nail on the head because it forces the company to clean up its mess.
Companies have repeatedly shown that they do not respect the waterways or the residents of western Pennsylvania. While the PPG decision is a victory for environmental groups and residents, the fact that it took almost 10 years to win against the company is demoralizing and demands change.
Elected officials should place more emphasis on corporate citizens who do not respect environmental rules. Companies found guilty of pollution should be forced to appropriate sections of waterways in the future and they should pay damages. They must recognize their duty to society and the environment.
Years of weak regulation and long struggles in the legal system are on the pollution side. Over the years, many more companies have been caught polluting Pittsburgh’s water systems, and the list of polluters even includes public systems such as the Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.
It is both an old problem and a current problem.
A 2018 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling made it more difficult to assess civil penalties in pollution cases because the court determined that current law does not require penalties for polluted waterways after the spill. or the original leak has been contained and cleaned up. It’s time to pass tougher regulations and tougher penalties for deliberate pollution, including restitution and ongoing decontamination.
An April report from advocacy organization PennFuture found that nearly a third of Pennsylvania’s waterway miles are polluted and cleanup efforts are underfunded. He said policy changes at the legislative level, such as increased funding and agricultural support programs, are needed to address this ongoing problem.
The state’s waterways are part of who we are. They are the cornerstone. It is scandalous that nearly 50 years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, companies can dump pollutants and contaminants into rivers that are used by residents for recreation and other corporations for commerce.
Simple cleanups and civil penalties are not sufficient deterrents. State lawmakers should tighten up rules and regulations to require appropriate and prompt penance in the future, and courts should work to adjudicate such cases expeditiously and with punitive damages high enough to be dissuasive.
– Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / TNS