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Air Pollution Law Monitoring Dropped in Pandemic-Battered States

Nov. 17, 2021, 4:37 PM

Oversight of Clean Air Act requirements plummeted in several states and territories during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report issued Wednesday by the EPA’s internal watchdog.

The evaluation, conducted between January to August 2021, found that 10 states and U.S. territories saw a 25% or more decline in oversight during 2020. Compliance-monitoring in Oregon, Vermont and Massachusetts dropped 30%, while Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands—home to the recently-shuttered Limetree Bay Refinery—saw an 85% drop.

“Substantially lower levels of compliance monitoring limit the deterrent effect that consistent monitoring can have on facilities’ noncompliance and increase the risk ...