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Environmental groups sue EPA over ‘reckless’ response to coronavirus

Smoke stacks seen at the RWE owned Neurath coal power station near Grevenbroich, Germany, Monday, October 30, 2006. The U.K. Treasury recommended expanding a European Union system of trading pollution credits to cut emissions linked to global warming and adding new taxes on industry and consumers to protect the climate. Photographer: Wolfgang von Brauchitsch/Bloomberg News


The National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of a dozen environmental groups.

  • Environmental groups across the country petitioned the EPA to publish an emergency rule that requires polluters to submit a public notice that they are taking advantage of newly relaxed emissions and pollutions standards
    • This petition comes days after the EPA relaxed pollution standards at the request of an oil industry trade group claiming it was necessary to loosen regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • These relaxed pollution standards will affect drinking water and air quality which directly impacts public health, especially in fence-line communities that border refineries and factories
    • Even with previous environmental regulations, these communities are still greatly impacted by emissions
    • A study focused on health hazards in vulnerable communities found that nearly 12,500 high-risk chemical facilities across the country place 39% of the U.S. population (124 million people) in constant risk of a chemical disaster, disproportionately affecting communities of color 
  • Juan Parras, founder and executive director of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.), says relaxing these regulations is a direct violation of the EPA’s main objective:

“The EPA, in allowing this to happen, is basically going against its very core value, which is to protect health and human safety [against] industrial pollution,” 

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean electricity is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.

Read more: https://grist.org/justice/environmental-groups-sue-epa-over-reckless-response-to-coronavirus