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In pandemic recovery efforts, polluting industries are winning big

by Beth Gardiner, Yale Environment 360


Highlights

Polluting industries such as airlines and fossil fuel companies have been lobbying for bailout funds and loosening of environmental regulations during the COVID-19 crisis

  • Bailouts and lack of environmental regulations will create a  high-carbon legacy that will last much longer than the current pandemic
  • Since the pandemic, U.S. officials have finalized or advanced proposals to ease restrictions on logging, grazing, pipeline safety, and the disposal of radioactive waste
  • Changes to the Clean Water Act, Endangered species Act, and other environmental review processes have allowed the Trump administration to advance its anti-regulatory agenda
  • Chinese and South Korean Governments are also giving their coal industries a boost during this time
  • In Brazil, illegal loggers, miners, and ranchers continue their exploitation of the Amazon rainforest as the government does nothing to prevent these crimes
  • The CARES Act pandemic relief package allowed big polluters to obtain more deductions and bailout money

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


Read More: https://e360.yale.edu/features/in-pandemic-recovery-efforts-polluting-industries-are-winning-big

Trump’s move to suspend enforcement of environmental laws is a lifeline to the oil industry

By Marianne Levelle, Inside Climate News


Highlights

The Trump administration suspended U.S. environmental laws due to calls for help from the American Petroleum Institute. The suspension of the rules will ultimately lead to more pollution, making more people in frontline communities susceptible to health risks, including COVID-19. 

  • The Environmental Protection Agency announced a policy that suspended enforcement and civil penalties for regulated entities that can prove the ongoing pandemic caused failure to comply with the law, allowing the oil industry to violate air and water pollution regulations at refineries
  • Gina McCarthy of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) calls the policy “an open license to pollute.” 
  • The industry sought out federal help after oil prices crashed due to Saudi  Arabia’s increase in oil production which impacted Russian and U.S. oil markets
  • Some members of Congress and oil executives wanted help in the form of direct financial support or trade halts with Saudi Arabia
  • The suspension of environmental laws will cause more pollution in communities surrounding refineries, making people more vulnerable to the respiratory effects of COVID-19

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must re-examine the ways in which we move around. The Climate Center is committed to working with state and local lawmakers to put us on track for a Climate-Safe California, which will include climate-safe transportation.


Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27032020/coronavirus-covid-19-EPA-API-environmental-enforcement