Essay on Medical Waste in Lake Baltimore

Essay on Medical Waste in Lake Baltimore

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Per our recent conversation, it has recently been discovered that a significant amount of medical waste has washed up on the shores of Lake Baltimore. This is quite disconcerting, as a large amount of the state’s yearly revenues come from businesses adjacent to the lake, including a large tourist sector: if this issue is not resolved quickly, I fear that the industries that rely on the beauty of the lake will suffer greatly. The Hopkins Attorney General has advised me that, through a cooperative federalist model, our state has the ability to self-regulate national EPA statutes. This presents an opportunity to use the power of several EPA regulations to stop the release of medical waste into the lake as efficiently as possible.
The Clean Air Act (CAA) originated in the 1950s as a state-regulated statute, with several significant changes made over the course of the last 60 years. The last major amendment, in 1977, reformed how outdoor air quality is regulated across the United States, establishing a list of six chemicals that are strictly monitored through the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and a much longer list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPS) that have varying levels of regulation. Because of the strict purview of media that can be regulated by the CAA, I do not think that this law is our best avenue for preventing the release of medical waste into Lake Baltimore: the CAA only regulates outdoor air quality and has no impact on water pollution. That being said, the CAA does enforce standards for incineration of medical waste; regulation through this method of waste disposal may allow us to prevent future environmental disasters influenced by the hospitals’ need to dispose of large amount of medical waste.

... middle of paper ... chemical were released into Lake Baltimore, contained within the medical waste, the EPA would know and we could gain this information through a FOIA inquiry.
Finally, the ability to file a citizen’s suit, acting as a private attorney general, would allow us to gain knowledge of who dumped the medical waste into Lake Baltimore. This provision was originally created by the CAA and CWA; its aim is to address the inadequacy of environmental enforcement at the state level. We have the ability to sue a federal entity that is not fulfilling its statutory duty or a private organization that has violated environmental statutes. By filing a citizen suit and utilizing joint and several liability, we could pit each of the three potential violators against each other, so that all would need to prove their innocence or face potential environmental sanctions for the infraction.

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