Groups Sue EPA Over Suspending Pollution Rules During Pandemic
Thursday, August 20, 2020
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Conservation groups are asking a federal judge to make the Environmental Protection Agency enforce pollution controls.
They're suing the agency this week in the wake of its decision this spring to not enforce certain environmental laws.
Citing COVID-19, the EPA suspended monitoring, reporting and enforcement of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and others.
Jared Margolis, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the change has led hundreds of companies, including some along the Connecticut River, to apply for pandemic waivers.
"We've seen examples of wastewater treatment plants and sewage treatment plants, of organic chemical manufacturers, where the outflow goes to waterways that are inhabited by endangered species, such as green and Atlantic sturgeon," Margolis said.
The EPA says companies need more leeway to deal with the constraints imposed by the coronavirus emergency, and has promised to resume enforcement of environmental laws starting in September.
The Endangered Species Act allows for emergency modifications, but requires the EPA to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service; something the lawsuit contends was not done.
Margolis said the policy of non-enforcement amounts to a free pass for polluters.
"And there's certainly some evidence that this policy was passed because of pressure from corporate entities, including oil and gas companies that potentially see this pandemic as a way to avoid environmental regulation," Margolis said.
The lawsuit calls on the agency to conduct a study to determine if pollution has, in fact, increased as enforcement actions have dropped off.
get more stories like this via email
Many of California's 13.5 million children and teens have not bounced back after the pandemic, especially children of color, according to the just-…
Americans continue to report low trust in mainstream media, with many younger than 30 saying they trust information from social media nearly as much …
A Minnesota House committee heard testimony Thursday about the governor's proposed spending plan for education. As these talks unfold, public polling …
Health and Wellness
Health-care professionals say low pay and a worker shortage have led a dramatic number of nursing homes in rural Iowa to close their doors. They hope …
Health and Wellness
Health-care professionals and advocates in Connecticut have said it will take sweeping reforms to bolster the state's flailing public health system…
In her fifth State of the State address this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policies designed to put more money in Michiganders' pockets…
By nearly every measure, voter fraud in U.S. elections is rare, but that isn't stopping the Texas Legislature from considering dozens of bills this …
A Republican-sponsored bill in the Arkansas Legislature would make it illegal to circulate petitions at or near polling places during elections…