In response to COVID-19, EPA announces sweeping relaxation of environmental rules

get more from BRO

Last Thursday, the EPA announced a drastic relaxation of environmental rules, granting factories and power plants, among others, the authority to decide for themselves if they can meet legally required reporting of their air and water pollution.

The decision to relax the regulations was made after a number of businesses requested a pass on environmental reporting as they face layoffs and personnel issues because of the coronavirus pandemic. The New York Times reports that the waiver is valid for an “undetermined period of time during the outbreak,” during which, “the agency will not issue fines for violations of certain air, water and hazardous-waste-reporting requirements.”

Many environmentalists were stunned by the announcement. 

Gina McCarthy, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the New York Times it is “an open license to pollute.” “This brazen directive is nothing short of an abject abdication of the E.P.A. mission to protect our well being,” she said. 

Cynthia Giles, who worked for the E.P.A. during the Obama administration, told the Times the move “is essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules. It is so far beyond any reasonable response I am just stunned.” 

The E.P.A., however, defended their decision. “It is not a nationwide waiver of environmental rules,” Andrea Woods, a spokesperson for the E.P.A. told the Times. “For situations outside of routine monitoring and reporting, the agency has reserved its authorities and will take the pandemic into account on a case-by-case basis.”

Read the story here:

More on this topic


in case you missed it

Go Outside and Play: Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Feature Image: Historic Downtown Elizabethtown Corner. Photo courtesy of Elizabethtown Tourism. A WEEKEND IN... Elizabethtown, Kentucky

The Sound of Silence and the Joy of Laughter — on the Upper James River Water Trail

Sometimes we venture out into nature to find solitude. To simply reflect on its beauty. To escape from noise, traffic and the...

Go Outside and Play: Lexington & Rockbridge County

Feature Image: Along the 64 miles of the Upper James River and 10 miles of the Maury River, a 59-mile stretch of...

Go Outside and Play: Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia

Feature Image: Let the good times flow. Photo courtesy of Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia. A DAYTRIP TO...