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Reuters Online

Title:   EPA Warns Ohio on Air Pollution Program - Report
 
Summary:     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is threatening to take over much of Ohio's air pollution control program after a lengthy review of the state's overall enforcement of environmental laws, USA Today reported on Wednesday.

Source:  Reuters Online
Date:  09/05/2001 02:10
Price:  Free
Document Size:  Very Short (0378 words)
Document ID:  HA20010905230000010
Subject(s):  Washington-Dateline General News
 

 
 
 
Reuters Online
EPA Warns Ohio on Air Pollution Program - Report

Story Filed: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 2:10 AM EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is threatening to take over much of Ohio's air pollution control program after a lengthy review of the state's overall enforcement of environmental laws, USA Today reported on Wednesday.

A 225-page review made public on Tuesday found no reason

to justify a federal take-over of most of the state's anti-pollution programs. However the review found that ``there has been a decline in recent years'' in air-pollution investigations, inspections, and fines, the newspaper said.

President Bush's nominee for the EPA's top enforcement job, Donald Schregardus, ran the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency during much of the period examined by the federal EPA review, USA Today reported.

``Overall, Ohio continues to make progress in protecting the environment. Nonetheless, there is work to be done, together.'' EPA Administrator Christine Whitman said in a statement. ``For the Clean Air programs, the report clearly identifies steps that must be taken by Ohio to prevent any future proceedings that could revoke the state's delegation of those programs.''

Thomas Skinner, head of the EPA's Midwestern regional office, which wrote the review, was quoted by USA Today as saying Ohio's programs ``were not being run in a way that's acceptable to us and that's not in compliance.

The review makes recommendations for solutions to weaknesses in the Clean Air programs that, if implemented,

would eliminate any possible need to withdraw the program, the EPA said.

The report also acknowledged that the state's legal environmental enforcement is strong and that the criminal environmental enforcement program is considered ``among the best in the nation.''

Christopher Jones, director of the Ohio EPA, protested many of the review's critical findings, USA Today reported. ``There are some things we agree we need to change, others we think EPA didn't get right,'' he said.

The EPA has been reviewing the state's environmental programs since January 2000, after four environmental groups petitioned the federal agency to look into the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA could withdraw the takeover threat at the end of the year if Ohio takes enough action, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2001 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the dotted and sphere logos are house marks of Reuters Limited. Reuters is a registered trade mark in more than 25 countries worldwide.

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