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How did toxic air release remain unregulated for so long?

"Without valid permits, emission control equipment operations are
not enforceable by either the GEPD or US EPA."
Source: Multimedia Compliance Investigation, Hercules Incorporated, US EPA Office of Enforcement
 and Compliance Assurance, National Enforcement Investigations Center, September 1999

    Normally, an industry submits an air permit application and a permit is issued with limits so that unhealthful levels of toxic chemicals are not released.  From the time the permit application is submitted to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD), the industry can operate under a "permit application shield" until the permit is issued.  The "permit application shield" has been used by the GEPD to allow industry to operate unregulated by tabling permit applications for up to 14 years.

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