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[Fair use for education and research purpose only] Report: EPA lab manipulated pollution data
DETROIT -- A lab doing work for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency manipulated data from pollution tests at a number of sites in...
Last updated 07:22 AM, EST, Wednesday, March 29, 2000
DETROIT (AP) -- A lab doing work for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency manipulated data from pollution tests at a number of sites in Michigan, a newspaper said today.
Federal investigators are probing at least 14 lawsuits brought against Michigan companies and local governments by the EPA based on the lab evidence, The Detroit News said.
The investigations are expected to result in cleaner land and water since new test results appear likely to require more pollution be removed, said Arlin Wasserman of the Michigan Land Use Institute.
The newspaper said contract scientists at an EPA regional lab in Chicago have been accused of manipulating test data in cases involving chemical pollution of ground water and soil.
Justice Department and EPA investigators say the lab staffers attempted to cover up their failure to calibrate a test device that measures pollutants, the News said.
It said the EPA declined comment.
The newspaper said investigators believe the employees, who work for government contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., also hid delays in testing by submitting false paperwork.
According to court documents, the case could involve "approximately 1,000 other cases -- including judicial and administrative matters," the newspaper said.
The 14 Michigan cases include suits against McLouth Steel in Trenton and Federal Marine Terminals in Wyandotte. The EPA and Justice Department are looking into 28 others suits in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin that have been flagged, and many of them frozen, pending investigation, the newspaper said.
Most involve legal action to recover the costs of cleaning up Superfund sites -- the nations most dangerously contaminated waste dumps.
Michigan environmental regulators are reviewing the cases as well, the News said. But state officials expressed confidence that the investigations and the frozen lawsuits would not significantly derail any pending Michigan cleanup cases.
"We think that in each case where the Central Regional Lab was involved, their lab work wasn't consequential to any decisions on remedial actions," said Al Howard, head of the office that oversees Superfund at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "In every case, the major work was performed by the state or our contract labs." http://www.starnews.com/data/wire/xml/0329ap_k2s814u109.html
-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 29, 2000