America is an economic leader, with its thriving economy and impressive industrial development. But industrial growth often comes at the price of depletion of natural resources. Even worse, it has a dire impact on the environment and human well-being. As an eco-conscious American, you should pay attention to the downsides of industrial growth.
Fortunately, the country has environmental laws to regulate environmental protection. These laws cover key areas such as air and water quality, pollution control, waste management, chemical safety, and prevention of hunting and fishing. But industrialists and business owners often cross the boundaries and break the laws, causing immense harm to the ecosystem.
The American government realizes its role in this context and enforces the law to preserve and protect the environment. Over the years, there have been landmark environmental law decisions that have set the course for a safer future. Here are some noteworthy lawsuits that stand apart in the history of the country’s legal system.
Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Lawsuit
The exposure to contaminated water in the military base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina affected the residents from 1953 to 1987. Over a million veterans, family members, and workers resided in the area during these three decades.
Unfortunately, they may have been exposed to toxins in domestic supplies. These deadly toxins came from dry cleaning businesses, waste disposal sites, and leaks from underground storage tanks.
According to CDC studies, the toxic water at Camp Lejeune had chemicals linked with the risk of diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, reproductive issues, birth defects, and childhood conditions.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act entitles victims to recover disability compensation for their suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. But it’s a long road because one needs to prove eligibility and the connection of their disease with toxic water.
The TorHoerman Law website offers a deep dive into the nitty-gritty of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and helps you evaluate your eligibility for filing a Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Lawsuit as a victim. You can get information and ask questions in a free consultation on the website. It also has a chatbot feature that lets users seek facts and statistics whenever they require them.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Oil spills are devastating as they affect more than the organisms in the aquatic environment. Spilled oils can reach the food chain and damage human food resources. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is among the worst environmental events in the history of the country. The massive oil and gas spill was triggered by an explosion in the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform on April 20, 2010.
The explosion killed eleven people and led to a disastrous oil leak of 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The impact of the spill persists as the cleanup process continues to affect marine life and cut the oxygen levels in the water. Beyond the reputational damage it faced, BP had to pay a $20.8bn settlement and take up cleanup responsibility for the spill. The decision held BP for negligence leading to the disaster.
The spill is still detectable, even more than a decade after the event. According to a recent report, a sticky oil residue still covers some marshland areas in the Gulf of Mexico and affects the aquatic life in the surroundings.
Coal Ash Pollution by Duke Energy Corporation
Another historic environmental judgment came against the Duke Energy Corporation, which is among the largest electrical utility providers in the country. Duke faced the flak after environmentalists filed complaints against it for polluting waterways and groundwater with toxic coal ash. In fact, the company faced several lawsuits. It even admitted violations of the Clean Water Act and pleaded guilty in federal court.
Investigations established that the corporation dumped 39,000 tons of hazardous coal ash in the Dan River in 2014. Duke Energy was placed on five years of probation and fined a whopping $102 million. The settlement amount includes $68.2 million in fines and $34 million for mitigation projects. The company continues to be under scrutiny for non-compliance with environmental requirements.
Coal ash contamination is a dire concern because it contains deadly toxins like mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. Without proper caution, these toxins can pollute waterways and even the air in the surrounding area.
Over the years, class action lawsuits have emerged as saviors for the environment and public interest. Successful lawsuits against the government and big corporations prove that negligence is unforgivable, no matter how powerful the guilty party is. The legal events are the best instances of how people can raise a voice against environmental damage.
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