Indiana: Polluters Go Unpunished

The environmental Protection Agency ad-mitted last year that its enforcement of the Clean Water Act had been "falling short." Now the Clean Air Act—which empowers regulators to issue fines for excessive pollution—is being similarly neglected. Analyzing the EPA's public database of enforcement records, I found that almost 60 Indiana state companies have been in "noncompliance" since 2007—all without suffering regulatory repercussions.

Broadening my search, I discovered that, on a national scale, enforcement is equally lax: more than 750 companies have been in continuous violation of clean-air statutes in that same time frame, including 230 defined as "high priority" because of repetitive or hazardous infractions. None of these firms have faced fines or other punishments. A spokesperson for the EPA says the agency has "increased accountability and oversight." But "if there's a claim that EPA's back on the job," says Jeff Ruch, the head of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a coalition of green-minded government workers, it's "difficult to discern at times." Maybe another mea culpa is in order.

Indiana: Polluters Go Unpunished | U.S.