FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: March 30th, 2020
EPA Shamefully Suspends Environmental Enforcement Amidst Global Pandemic
Miami, FL — On March 26, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has suspended enforcement of U.S. environmental laws indefinitely, blaming the global COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of enforcement is backdated to March 13.
With this lawless and unprecedented decision, the EPA is further putting communities in danger through unchecked air pollution and other pollution that threatens our air, water, land, and wildlife. Air pollution exacerbates the severity of COVID-19. According to the New York Times, the millions of Americans already exposed to air pollution are at a greater risk of COVID-19. Experts are warning that air pollution is likely to increase the death rate from COVID-19, and those with chronic conditions may be less likely to fight off infection. Florida has 10 sites that will now be ignored during this public health crisis.
EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, announced this decision only days after energy industry lobbyists submitted a ten-page request to the EPA to relax environmental protections. The industry got its wish but Congress must investigate this dangerous decision and how the oil and gas industry influenced EPA decision-making at the highest levels. Floridians deserve better than the EPA’s administration’s dirty polluter agenda that puts corporate polluter profits and interests ahead of people’s health and well-being.
In response, our executive director, Yoca Arditi-Rocha, released the following statement:
“Protecting everyone from the Coronavirus should be the highest priority during this global pandemic, instead, Andrew Wheeler is putting public health at additional risk by issuing a direct giveaway to corporate polluters and suspending enforcement of U.S. laws that protect the environment and public health. The decision to suspend enforcement of our laws will result in additional loss of life and exacerbate the current public health crisis we are all facing. This is an abdication of EPA’s responsibility to protect our health and environment and must be reversed.”