September 2009 – AggBeat
* Gold — Original Research category, Between a Rock and a Hard Place;
* Silver — Regular Column, Contributed category, Carved in Stone;
* Bronze — Original Research category, Forecast 2008; and
* Bronze — Special Section category, 2008 USGS Aggregates Industry Atlas.
Economy may affect EPA enforcement
The economic crisis is posing major challenges to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) enforcement efforts. According to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), EPA officials are facing a growing number of requests to ease cleanup settlements to lessen firms’ financial burdens, to ease financial assurance rules that are proving “unworkable,” and to ease the burden on municipalities unable to float bonds to comply with agency requirements.
According to a presentation at a June 11 meeting of senior EPA enforcement officials in Washington, D.C., the crisis is also having an impact on companies’ ability to obtain credit, which impacts enforcement efforts. The EPA is seeing a 43-percent increase in commercial loans with clauses saying the loan can be called or the line of credit canceled if the borrower needs to pay a civil penalty. The presentation also noted that municipalities may not be able to issue bonds, which will impact their ability to comply with environmental rules, though this problem has not yet been encountered.
According to the presentation, the EPA has a number of preliminary draft recommendations for possible changes the agency might need to make to its current analytical approach in ability-to-pay situations. The agency is also weighing whether it should make changes to its current policies and guidance on ability to pay.
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