EPA response to COVID-19 would worsen another ongoing health & climate crisis

Statement by Earthworks’ Senior Policy Counsel Aaron Mintzes:

“It’s obscene that the Environmental Protection Agency responds to the worst public health crisis in a century by loosening oversight of oil and gas polluters that threaten public health and climate.  The federal response to one crisis should not worsen another.

“Although the COVID crisis is new, there’s nothing new about the oil and gas industry’s desire for weak oversight.  Earthworks has documented the failure of oil and gas companies to control methane pollution, waste pollution, and other health-harming toxics.

“The EPA’s action protects corporate polluters, not people. It heightens the public health threat to communities and residents living near oil and gas development.

“A government of the people, by the people, for the people should protect the people, not the polluters.”

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Background

  • The Wall Street Journal reported today that the EPA is granting waivers on compliance and reporting to industries and businesses.
  • Letter from American Petroleum Institute to President Trump requesting waivers on compliance from various federal agencies.
  • Background on Community Empowerment Project and OGI FLIR camera used by Earthworks’ certified Thermographers.
  • The federal government should provide substantial support — to people, not corporations. And especially not to the oil and gas industry. To the extent that government resources are spent to support any industry, they should be invested in a just transition toward a more resilient and sustainable clean energy economy. Any dollar we spend propping up the oil and gas industry doesn’t just reward its investment in climate change denial that led us into our (still ongoing) climate crisis, it is a dollar we steal from a sustainable future.