Suspension of EPA enforcement puts our health at risk

Media Contacts

Environment Massachusetts

Boston – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new policy yesterday that would suspend enforcement of key provisions of our nation’s environmental laws during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The decision came on the heels of requests from the oil and gas industry and others seeking exemptions at this time.

Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts, issued the following statement:

“The EPA’s decision to stop enforcing key provisions of our environmental laws puts our air, water, and health at the mercy of polluters. The whole framework of the Clean Air Act depends on monitoring and reporting, without which we have no idea what facilities are releasing into the air we breathe.

“This is particularly true with oil and gas industry operations, including refineries and fracking operations. Moreover, under this reckless new policy, the EPA could also let facilities off the hook for actual instances of excessive pollution. Such provisions constitute an open invitation to pollute.

“As our nation struggles to contain the coronavirus, health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and the public cares even more deeply about the air we breathe and the water we drink. If EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will not rescind this policy immediately, we urge Congress to exercise its oversight authority to ensure the safety of our air and water.”