The U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are probing possible health and environmental issues from lead-covered telecom cables.
The EPA’s enforcement office has directed AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) to provide inspections, investigations, and environmental sampling dat, about their lead cables within 10 days, according to a WSJ report late Wednesday, which cited a person familiar with the matter.
The DOJ’s civil inquiry, from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, is in its early stages and is probing whether the telecom companies knew of potential risks to their workers and the environment from the lead cables, the WSJ said.
The investigations come in the wake of a WSJ report from earlier this month that said telecom operators still had lead-clad cables in their networks. According to the WSJ, AT&T (T) faces the biggest risk with the most cable in the ground, followed by Verizon (VZ). Verizon (VZ) has said the percentage of lead-sheathed cables in its existing network is small.
AT&T (T) ticked down almost 1% in after hours trading. Verizon ticked lower by 0.3%.
It was disclosed last Wednesday that AT&T (T) halted its plan to remove lead cables in the Lake Tahoe area and will test lead levels at locations where it has lead sheathed cables, according to a court filing.