Virginia will cut its air pollution inspectors by more than 20% due to a budget shortfall. The Department of Environmental Quality reported that 14 of the 54 inspector positions had been eliminated as part of Governor Timothy Kaine’s proposed $12 million in cuts to the state secretary of natural resources.
“If [polluters] are out of compliance, we may or may not find it as quickly or easily as we once did,” said State Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant Jr.
Of the 5,000 sites monitored by air inspectors, the 500 considered big polluters will still be checked as often as the EPA requires, but the rest will be checked less than once every two years. Officials fear that this will allow less visible polluters to bend or break air quality rules.
Department officials say that agencies will deal with the cutbacks by delaying maintenance and visiting smaller air quality sites less frequently. The budget cuts will also affect funding for the Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts.
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