Suspending EPA enforcement during COVID-19 outbreak adds to pollution-related health risks
Late Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new policy that would suspend enforcement of key provisions of our nation’s environmental laws during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The decision came on the heels of requests from the oil and gas industry and others seeking exemptions at this time.
John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America, made the following statement in response:
"The EPA’s decision to stop enforcing key provisions of our environmental laws puts our air, water, and health at the mercy of polluters. The whole framework of the Clean Air Act depends on monitoring and reporting, without which we have no idea what facilities are releasing into the air we breathe.
“This is particularly true with oil and gas industry operations. Refineries release millions of pounds of air pollution -- including fugitive emissions or leaks -- that would go undetected without stringent monitoring requirements. Fracking operations across the country involve several emission-releasing components including drill pads, compressor stations, pipelines, and waste pits -- sometimes in close proximity to child care centers, nursing homes, and even hospitals.
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