Liability Gone Haywire Down Under

An 82-year-old Australian grandmother says she is prepared to go to jail rather than pay a A$1-million (US$731,000) bill to clean up toxic chemicals spilled by her tenant.

Opposition spokesman for the environment David Davis described the EPA [Environmental Protection Authority] as a ramshackle organisation that needed to be overhauled.

He said toxic waste was leaking from the barrels and presented a risk to the local community of the light industrial area.

“Because of the EPA’s failure to act at an early point, failure to enforce regulations and failure to guarantee that toxic chemicals were not stored in capacities above what was allowed by permits, a landlord is now faced with a very difficult position,” Mr Davis said.

“The landlord here is being told she is responsible, despite her telling the EPA at an early point that they needed to act against a tenant who was breaking the law.”

In America, the Australian environmental agency’s initials make this case even more disturbing. (Thanks to Margaret Griffis for the Herald Sun news link.)