News | March 27, 2020

EPA significantly relaxes rules for polluters amid public health crisis

At a time when public health is threatened, the Trump administration is leaving Americans at the mercy of the good will of polluting companies.

Citing the coronavirus as its reason, the Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that it would not enforce some pollution laws, and that power plants, factories, and other facilities should use the honor system when meeting legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution. The agency also said it will not issue fines for violations.

“They manage to find the resources to help big polluters by weakening protections, but are at a loss when it comes to protecting public health,” says Nat Mund, SELC’s director of federal affairs.

In addition to scaling back enforcement actions, the agency continues to push bad policies forward. Over the next few weeks, the agency is expected to:

  • Finalize a regulation that attempts to undo more than 45 years of progress on clean water
  • Weaken pollution standards for cars
  • Weaken protections from coal ash pollution

“EPA is moving full steam ahead on these rulemakings, refusing to give the public more time to respond to these changes,” adds Mund. “And at a time when we need pollution protections more than ever.”