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EPA indefinitely suspends environmental enforcement at the oil industry’s request

by Katie Nelson

March 26, 2020

Washington, DC, March 26, 2020 — Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indefinitely suspended its enforcement of environmental laws, telling companies they would not need to meet ecological mandates amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

The disastrous policy would permit countless fossil fuel corporations to bypass environmental laws, and marks the EPA caving to pressure from oil and gas lobbyists [1]. The agency noted in a statement that it will not “seek penalties for [companies’] noncompliance with routine monitoring and reporting obligations.” 

In response, Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner Caroline Henderson said: 

“While millions of Americans are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler are rewriting the rules for dirty energy industries. With the United States facing an unprecedented public health crisis, this is no time for the EPA to relax vital public health standards. We cannot let our government’s response in this moment be driven by lobbyists at the American Petroleum Institute looking to exploit a crisis for their own gain.

“If oil and gas companies can’t carry out basic public health monitoring, we should be concerned that other aspects of their operations are jeopardized. The health and safety of industry workers and communities living near oil and gas infrastructure must be a priority. The EPA should be focused on protecting the health of those most vulnerable in the middle of a pandemic, not easing requirements for corporate polluters.”

ENDS

Notes: 

[1] In a letter issued to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on March 23, 2020, Frank J. Macchiarola — Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics, and Regulatory Affairs at the American Petroleum Institute — requested relaxed reporting measures for the oil and gas industry during the COVID-19 crisis. 

[2] The EPA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Policy can be found in full here.

Contact: 

Katie Nelson, Strategic Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (678) 644-1681, [email protected]

 

Katie Nelson

By Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson is a Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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