While the national spotlight focuses on coronavirus sweeping through the air, new environmental deregulation puts the air we breathe at greater risk for pollution.
The Environmental Pollution Agency says due to the coronavirus pandemic, power plants, factories and other businesses will no longer need to adhere to strict monitoring guidelines for protecting air and water.
The New York Times, broke the news of the EPA suspending company compliance laws.
Businesses should use good faith measures to stay clean but will not receive fines for air, water and hazardous waste violations.
The agency states: “In general, the EPA does not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that Covid-19 was the cause of the noncompliance and the entity provides supporting documentation to the EPA upon request."
It said the agency’s focus during the outbreak would be “on situations that may create an acute risk or imminent threat to public health or the environment” and said it would exercise “discretion” in enforcing other environmental rules
The challenging work environment resulting from Covid-19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements, according to EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler.
“It is not a nationwide waiver of environmental rules,” said Andrea Woods, an EPA spokeswoman. “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.”