EPA Suspends Enforcement of Environmental Regulations: BREAKING

Editor’s note: on Thursday news broke that the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. is suspending enforcement of regulations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

This comes several weeks after China waived their own environmental regulations in order to re-start their economy as fast as possible, raising fears of a “pollution backlash.”

From a DGR analysis, this is predictable. Within a culture that is dependent on destroying the planet, the needs of the economy—and of the rich—will always be prioritized over the needs of the natural world.

It’s obvious that environmental regulations are failing to protect the planet. That’s partly because, as the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) often states, regulatory law is written by and for corporations. Nonetheless, regulations do mitigate and slow some of the worst harms. Now, even that flimsy barrier is being dismantled.

We expect this. As Derrick Jensen wrote in Premise 20 of the book Endgame, “Within this culture, economics—not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself—drives social decisions.”

Featured image: Public domain photo. Air pollution kills roughly 7 million human beings annually.

‘Holy Crap This Is Insane’: Citing Coronavirus Pandemic, EPA Indefinitely Suspends Environmental Rules

Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

The Environmental Protection Agency, headed by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, announced on Thursday a sweeping and indefinite suspension of environmental rules amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, a move green groups warned gives the fossil fuel industry a “green light to pollute with impunity.”

Under the new policy (pdf), which the EPA insisted is temporary while providing no timeframe, big polluters will effectively be trusted to regulate themselves and will not be punished for failing to comply with reporting rules and other requirements. The order—applied retroactively beginning March 13, 2020—requests that companies “act responsibly” to avoid violations.

“EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment, but recognizes challenges resulting from efforts to protect workers and the public from COVID-19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements,” Wheeler said in a statement. “This temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment.”

Cynthia Giles, former head of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement under the Obama administration, told The Hill that the new policy is “essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules for the indefinite future.”

“It tells companies across the country that they will not face enforcement even if they emit unlawful air and water pollution in violation of environmental laws, so long as they claim that those failures are in some way ’caused’ by the virus pandemic,” said Giles. “And it allows them an out on monitoring too, so we may never know how bad the violating pollution was.”

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8 thoughts on “EPA Suspends Enforcement of Environmental Regulations: BREAKING”

  1. $Greed
    + $Self monitoring
    + $self governing
    + $self -preservation
    + $tax free
    + $bailout
    – (Minus) – rights of lawful authority of and for the people (life)
    = $$$advantageous, $$$sanctioned $$$profiteering$$

  2. hi friends

    yes I agree this is insane, but I think we already know what and whom we are dealing with.

    Yesterday I saw McLane Global spokesman high on drugs flouting USDA FDA wide scale corporate global ag.

    This is no holds barred rush on resources by the wealth class.

    I am planting seeds

  3. “EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment, but….” The fact that “human health” is regarded as an entity separate from “the environment” is the mindset of industrial civilization, and is the crux of the whole issue. We are alien invaders, committed to economic interests that are measured by the suppression and subordination of Nature, just as white interests in America were, until recently, defined as separate from and superior to black and indigenous interests. There were people still living when I was born who grew up in slave-“owning” families.

    The emancipation of slaves was not the goal of Union forces in the American Civil War. That was clearly specified by a congressional declaration, enacted after the outbreak of hostilities. Lincoln himself famously said he would just as readily keep all slaves in bondage as set them free –whatever best served the interests of Union, which were economic interests. Emancipation became a goal of expediency, halfway through the war, and did not apply to Union states, six of which still had slaves.* Their emancipation came after the war. And the emancipation of indigenous slaves in New Mexico came two years after that.

    My point is that ALL interests, human and otherwise, are subordinate to the interests of civilization as a financial entity. Rich over poor, poor over slave, slave over indigenous slave. The EPA, like emancipation, was primarily a PR stunt, and its enforcement (such as it was) will resume when and if it becomes convenient to do so.

    Always remember that “man’s triumph over nature” is always viewed by history as a good thing (and if either “man” or “nature” were to be capitalized, it would be man, meaning industrial man — and “man” over “woman,” for that matter. In the cemetery where my slaveholding ancestors are buried in North Carolina, the markers of white men’s graves are of stone, and are inscribed with names and dates. The graves of their wives are marked by small pieces of unmarked stone, as if denoting property. Likewise, the graves of slaves (in separate areas) were noted by wooden markers, long since gone. Civilization has its priorities, which must be remembered.

    *There were 5 slaveholding Union states when the war began. By the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, Tennessee had been reconquered, and thus was no longer one of the “states in rebellion” to which the order applied.

  4. “Within a culture that is dependent on destroying the planet, the needs of the economy—and of the rich—will always be prioritized over the needs of the natural world. ” And yet you argue with those of us who state the FACT that humans fit the medical definition of being a cancerous tumor on the planet. Your statement is a perfect example of why they are so, even though this specific behavior is not necessarily cancerous.

    This is a perfect example of disaster capitalism. Read Naomi Klein, she explains this perfectly, it’s not a difficult concept to understand. The ruling class and their lackey politicians and judges use disasters as an excuse to eliminate things like environmental laws & regulations so they can make more money.

    When I was a campaigner with Earth First! in the 1980s, among the many other things we did, we were advocating for all public lands to be designated as National Park Wilderness areas, the strongest legal environmental protection available under U.S. federal law. But I told my fellow campaigners that if push ever came to shove, the people with money & power would ignore environmental laws and regulations and destroy even National Parks and wilderness areas. As I’ve been saying since the ’80s, we have to change the attitude of the human race as a whole, in addition to working on the Band Aid measures that we do. If humans think that money is more important than life, that’s how they’ll act. The EPA’s decision is a perfect example of that.

    @Mark Behrend
    As usual, your comments are totally spot on and I agree with all of them except this: The EPA and environmental laws were created in order for humans to limit and restrict their pollution and other environmental harms and destruction to levels that would not kill themselves. Read what Richard Nixon said about this, he’s the one who created the current U.S. environmental laws and the EPA. If you view the creation of the EPA that way, you can see that its creation was not “a PR stunt.” Rich people didn’t want to die from pollution or other environmental destruction either, but since they can’t control themselves when it comes to making money, they had things like the EPA put in place. Pretty psychopathic, but that’s what it is.

  5. Yeah welcome to Brazil, guys.

    This is not a new thing. US governments have always endorsed environmental deregulation in their proxy countries. The only difference is that the proverbial shit is hitting your own fan now.

  6. The EPA is simply a band aid that allows industries and governments to pollute and destroy nature at a slower pace. It doesn’t stop the pollution, only masks it for awhile. But 40+ years of environmental regulations has only slowed the amount of time to get to the same place we would have if the EPA had not been created in the first place. So instead of hand wringing over losing the EPA, why not realize that we need a system that stops and prohibits the harm? Let the communities directly impacted by destructive projects assess the risk and prohibit the harm to protect the community for the next generations? Let’s rip the band aid off and as people see the hemorrhaging take place, see if they will take action to stop it….if not maybe it just speeds up the extinction of the human tumor that is killing the planet?

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