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:

Up Next

Hero of the Week: Arshak Makichyan

Hero of the Week: Arshak Makichyan

Arshak Makichyan is a 26-year-old climate activist in Moscow, Russia who has been inspired by Greta Thunberg’s strikes for climate and activism. But, as Reuters reported, “unlike the Swedish teenager, who has galvanized a global movement of young environmentalists, Russia’s tough protest laws and people’s general apathy towards activism has made the 26-year-old’s campaign a […]

Continue Reading 156 words
Justice Ginsburg’s Death Puts Supreme Court on Even Shakier Ground for Environmental Cases

Justice Ginsburg’s Death Puts Supreme Court on Even Shakier Ground for Environmental Cases

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a rock-steady vote in favor of environmental protection and sympathetic on issues involving clean water and air.

Why This Matters:  There are many challenges to President Trump’s rollbacks of environmental laws that are working their way to the Supreme Court. Once there, the Court can effectively re-write those laws narrowing them considerably by upholding the Trump deregulatory position even if it is contrary to prior interpretations or other plausible interpretations of the statute itself. 

Continue Reading 606 words
Heroes of the Week: Youth Organizers of “Mock COP26”

Heroes of the Week: Youth Organizers of “Mock COP26”

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference was set to take place this November in the UK but the coronavirus has postponed the meeting for another year. But, as the Guardian reported, not wanting to waste any time, young activists in Fridays for Future are pushing ahead with their own online event this November, called Mock […]

Continue Reading 191 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.