You heard right, the Director of Policy for the State of Maine's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Heather Parent, read a letter of opposition to the legislation.
Now I've heard government staff waffle on the topic when they are unsure of the direction of political winds. There are also times when staff may reach hasty decisions. But I have never heard a state environmental agency testify against a coal tar sealant ban.
The testimony stated that the DEP opposition to this legislation was based upon the following:
- existing regulations
- difficulty in enforcement
|Maine DEP's own website encourages citizens |
not to use coal tar sealers.
What evidence is there that existing regulations are sufficient to avoid coal tar sealant contamination of homes, businesses and the environment? The techniques suggested (erosion control, street sweeping, etc.) have been in place around the US for years, yet according to the USGS the level of coal tar pollution continues to rise.
Perhaps a different technique is in order?
The testimony of Ms. Parent mentioned Best Management Practices to avoid pollution from this source. Are they aware that the USEPA has called the cessation of the use of coal tar sealants a "best management practice?"
Do they know that the USEPA stated that the most effective effort to manage this pollution may be an outright ban of it?
The DEP testimony mentions the difficulty of enforcing a coal tar sealant ban.
I wonder if the DEP reached out to any jurisdictions that have already passed a ban. Several jurisdictions have had bans for more than 5 years (e.g., Austin, TX & Washington, DC) and have successfully implemented them.
Ms. Parent also stated how difficult it would be to verify that retail products are compliant. Aren't they aware that most hardware stores in the US have stopped selling this years ago and the verification of retail sales would not be necessary in 90% of the home improvement stores?
Did they know that there is an online guide on how easy it is to enforce a ban?
I would hope that the DEP would take their own advice: help reduce pollutants and support the ban of coal tar sealants in the the State of Maine.