by Max Brantley
NPR began a series this week on Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities.
Though the U.S. has made strides in cleaning up poisonous air, problems persist.
Pollution violations at more than 1,600 plants across the country were serious enough that the government believes they require urgent action, according to an analysis of EPA data by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity. Yet nearly 300 of those facilities have been considered "high priority violators" of the Clean Air Act by the Environmental Protection Agency for at least a decade.
About a quarter of those 1,600 violators are on an internal EPA "watch list," which the agency has kept secret until now.
EPA estimates facilities across the country emitted 40 percent fewer toxic emissions in 2005 than they did in 1990, but toxic air pollution has persisted in communities like Ponca City, Okla.; Hayden, Ariz.; Tonawanda, N.Y.; and Muscatine, Iowa.
Yes, Arkansas sites are on the list. There's a searchable map that lists all the problem spots by name and location and particulars of the violations.