(WASHINGTON, DC)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today sent a letter EPA expressing deep concern about the ramifications of a recent decision that EPA would not take enforcement action against entities that claim, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to be unable to comply with their obligations under federal law, federal permits, EPA administrative orders, and judicial consent decrees.
As a result, EPA will not require public and private permit holders to provide public notice concerning increased discharges of a wide range of pollutants that could pose significant risks to human health and the environment. In addition, the public will not know how much pollution is being discharged and where those discharges are occurring.
CBF Vice Presidents for Litigation, Jon Mueller, and Environmental Protection and Restoration, Lisa Feldt, issued this statement.
Jon Mueller said:
“While we face an unprecedented threat to our health from COVID-19, we cannot further risk human health and our environment by failing to properly notify the public of where unpermitted discharges and emissions of pollution are occurring into our air, water, and on to land.”
Lisa Feldt said:
“The risks of this action to human health and the environment are very real. Drinking water is at risk, as well as the health of waterways that may be damaged by unlawful and unreported discharges. While we understand that these are unique times, EPA has an essential responsibility to ensure disclosure of where pollution limits are not being sufficiently monitored. In addition, the agency should disclose how it will assess the human and environmental damage caused by the violation once the crisis passes, as well as how the public will be informed.”