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Trump's EPA Uses Virus Crisis as Pretext to Relax Oversight of Polluting Industries

One of the most consistent themes of the Trump administration has been their efforts to undermine America's environmental regulations. The administration has gutted more than 90 environmental rules and regulations since the President took office including their decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and reducing emissions standards, clean water rules, and bans on pesticides.

Continuing those efforts, the EPA issued a statement yesterday saying that it would allow industries, like petrochemical manufacturers, to self-monitor their violations of the the nation's environmental regulations.

New York Times: "Issued by the E.P.A.’s top compliance official, Susan P. Bodine, the policy sets new guidelines for companies to monitor themselves for an undetermined period of time during the outbreak and says that the agency will not issue fines for violations of certain air, water and hazardous-waste-reporting requirements."

Bodine used the coronavirus crisis as a pretext for the policy change, but Cynthia Giles, who headed EPA’s Office of Enforcement during the Obama administration, "called it a moratorium on enforcing the nation's environmental laws and an abdication of EPA’s duty." 

Giles, quoted by The Hill: “This EPA statement is essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules for the indefinite future. It tells companies across the country that they will not face enforcement even if they emit unlawful air and water pollution in violation of environmental laws, so long as they claim that those failures are in some way 'caused' by the virus pandemic. And it allows them an out on monitoring too, so we may never know how bad the violating pollution was.” ...

As the pandemic subsides, it will be important to monitor how quickly the Trump administration reverses this dangerous policy decision.

#environment #news #Trump

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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