Quote from Naomi Klein’s great article here, which includes a description of VP Pence’s toxic role in the conservative-led catasphophe that was the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Action – Ask our Environmental Protection Agency to freeze all protection rollback processes until the pandemic is officially over, starting from Jan.31.
Shock Doctrine at work – using a pandemic to hide a rollback of protections, and more deaths: Since Trump took over on Jan. 20, 2017, air pollution, and air pollution-related deaths have been rising, with 9,700 more deaths in 2018 than it were in 2016, according to a new paper by economists at Carnegie Mellon. At the bidding of polluting corporations, the administration has rolled back 58 environmental protections, including 16 specifically addressing air pollution and 10 related to drilling and extraction. Now we have a pandemic, with thousands of deaths to hide the damage that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been wreaking on Americans’ health since Trump’s election, including the long-term health effects of environmental racism.
On March 26th, the EPA cited the pandemic as an excuse to “temporarily” reduce their enforcement over polluting industries, which, according to research published last year, is already dramatically weakened. “In general, the E.P.A. does not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the E.P.A. agrees that Covid-19 was the cause of the noncompliance and the entity provides supporting documentation to the E.P.A. upon request,” Susan Bodine, EPA’s assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance, wrote in the order. Our legislators need to do more than toothlessly protest.
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to take back their power. Freeze the EPA’s environmental protection rollbacks, starting from Jan. 30th, when the World Health Organization declared an emergency, until both the pandemic is gone and the EPA can prove, before a House investigative committee, that their corporate-centric actions since Trump’s election, including this latest removal of polluter oversight, haven’t contributed to the premature deaths of Americans in general and during this pandemic.
Rep. Julia Brownley: email, (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com
The EPA’s original announcement was so corrupt, and their responses to a letter from Senators Warren and Markey so ludicrous, we felt, in the spirit of Klein’s “shock doctrine“, that we needed to “diagram” an article the Hill published regarding the situation on April 6th. Specifically – we needed red boxes, and colorful text and arrows. And lots of Andy heads.
Letter from the senators: “…It is disturbing that the administration would use this global public health crisis as cover to weaken regulations that protect our nation’s air, water, lands, climate, and public health. In the midst of a respiratory disease outbreak, rolling back environmental safeguards, particularly those that protect clean air and reduce lung disease and asthma is highly dangerous and irresponsible….”
Hill article: Read here.
Not the first: Here is the American Petroleum Institute’s letter to Trump.
Corporate EPA: Actually, the EPA, along with other agencies, has been very busy fulfilling the orders of the corporations who own them. The American Petroleum Institute’s letter is not the first one that inspired a rollback of environmental protections. Remember back in 2017, when Robert E. Murray, head of Murray Energy, and serial violator of federal health and safety rules, sent the Trump Administration a wish list that included: eliminating the “Clean Power Plan“, suspending the the “endangerment finding” for greenhouse gases, elimination of the 30% production tax credit for those cancer-causing windmills and solar panels used for electricity generation, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, ending the electric utility maximum achievable technology and ozone regulations, funding development of “clean coal” technologies, cutting the number of mining safety inspectors, overturning the cross-state air pollution rule, appoint judges to the supreme court that will think corporations are not only “persons”, but more important than real people and more! We don’t think Murray specifically asked to throw hazardous mining waste into streams but he got that too.
A very good return on Murray’s $300,000 donation made to the President’s inauguration!
The senators’ letter provides some very good questions to ask Andy and the EPA
- Under what authority did the EPA suspend its enforcement of environmental laws and replace it with industry self-reporting requirements?
- What was the rationale for this decision? What criteria will the EPA use to determine if the enforcement moratorium should be lifted?
- Please explain in detail how the EPA will determine when the suspension of enforcing compliance will end and how the public will be notified of these changes.
- Please explain why this guidance is being applied retroactively to Friday, March 13, 2020.28
- Please explain how regulated industries are to maintain records during the EPA enforcement moratorium. Please explain why the agency is declining to commit to conduct retrospective enforcement reviews.
- Which agency officials were responsible for the decision to enact an enforcement moratorium? Were officials in the Office of General Counsel consulted on this decision, and if so, what advice did they provide to you and other key decision makers?
- Did you meet with or communicate with officials or lobbyists representing the oil and gas, coal, automobile, or other polluting industries prior to announcing this decision? Please provide a record of all meetings and communications regarding this decision with these industry representatives.
- Did the EPA conduct any analyses about the impact of this decision on pollutant emissions, especially their impacts on environmental justice communities?
- Will the decision result in increased emissions of any air pollutants? If so, what are these pollutants and what is the scope of the increase?
- Will the decision have any impacts on asthma or lung disorders? If so, what is the impact?
- Will this decision result in increased pollution of drinking water or drinking water sources?
What could lie ahead?