EPA’s Air, Water and Toxic Waste Failures Compounding Health and Safety Risks to Public

Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), testifies during a hearing titled "Oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency" in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on May 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Al Drago/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Andrew Wheeler testifies Photo: Al Drago, AFP via Common Dreams

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, appeared before Congress yesterday and when asked about all the rollbacks of environmental regulations by the agency recently, he defended his leadership saying “All our rules make things better.”  Just in the last few weeks alone, under his leadership, the EPA has refused to regulate perchlorate, a toxic chemical compound that contaminates water and has been linked to fetal and infant brain damage, told polluters that because of COVID-19 he would suspend enforcement of environmental laws that require companies to monitor their pollution, and failed to back up his staff who objected to the Transportation Department’s rationale for rolling back the Obama Clean Car Rule.

Why This Matters:  It is patently clear that EPA is making things better for corporate polluters, not ordinary citizens who are negatively impacted by them.  This administration has systematically worked to pull back dozens of environmental protections for the public — these rollbacks make people sick and they hasten the deaths of thousands of Americans.  And now as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, which we know is more deadly for people who have been exposed to pollution, they are busy trying to expose even more Americans to pollution.

Devastating Recent Rollbacks

In response to Administrator Wheeler’s testimony, the Environmental Working Group put out this list of the EPA’s recent rollbacks of environmental, health, and safety regulations.  The EPA has:

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