Across California, there could be thousands or even tens of thousands of businesses dodging environmental rules and sending pollution into the state’s waters. Though an entire regulatory system exists to police businesses and keep water safe for residents and wildlife, the state doesn’t know how many unpermitted businesses are out there, or how much damage they’re doing.
Businesses that comply are at a disadvantage competing with those that don’t. State officials admit they could not handle enforcing their own rules. If somehow it were to be sorted out, businesses would face potentially billions in devastating fines.
By Ry Rivard.
Thousands – perhaps tens of thousands – of California businesses are polluting streams, bays and the ocean, but state environmental regulators don’t know how many companies are doing how much damage.
In places like Logan Heights or National City, industry-filled neighborhoods send metals and toxic chemicals into the water, helping to ruin it for humans and poison it for marine life.
An entire regulatory system exists to prevent this – to keep businesses honest, residents safe and fish alive. That system is a mess.
At the beginning of last year, the city of San Diego estimated that 2,400 businesses here were operating without the necessary water pollution control permit. Many business owners may not know they’re violating the law; others are trying not to get caught.