The Lead

Suspending EPA regs during pandemic is a dirty precedent | Capital-Star Letters

By: - May 5, 2020 6:30 am

Luc Aleria, WikiMedia Commons (

During these challenging times when the United States, along with other nations around the world, are focused on the coronavirus pandemic, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is relaxing regulations on monitoring and reporting of air and water pollution.

The decision was made at the request of the American Petroleum Institute and others in the oil and gas industry, who sought exemptions based challenges with compliance during the pandemic.

Environmental groups filed suit against the EPA in federal court and government officials from several states wrote to the EPA’s administrator Andrew Wheeler regarding the decision, citing the measure is too broad and open-ended. Indeed, it cannot be left to industry to police itself.

Earth Day 2020: The EPA can’t use the pandemic as an excuse for weakening oversight

I find it appalling that the EPA, whose mission is the protection of human and environmental safety, is making allowances based on reported constraints from one public health issue (pandemic) only to potentially cause others.

This represents yet another example of where the current administration places its priorities, big business and the petrochemical industry over the health and safety of citizens and the environment.

The EPA, along with the Clean Air Act, came out of the first Earth Day in 1970, and this is no way to commentate these initiatives 50th anniversary. I urge Wheeler to rescind this policy immediately, and if not, Congress should exercise its oversight and authority to ensure the safety of our air and water.

RICHARD COLE, Norristown, Pa. 

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