Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

EPA Has Granted More Than 3,000 Pollution Monitoring Exemptions to Oil and Gas Industry

Climate
EPA Has Granted More Than 3,000 Pollution Monitoring Exemptions to Oil and Gas Industry
Environmental regulators across the country granted more than 3,000 requests from polluting oil and gas operations, government facilities, chemical plants, and other facilities to stop pollution monitoring. PxHere / CC0

Environmental regulators across the country granted more than 3,000 requests from polluting oil and gas operations, government facilities, chemical plants, and other facilities to stop pollution monitoring and other procedures intended to protect human health and the environment, an expansive two-month AP investigation revealed.


The Trump administration, under pressure from the oil and gas industry, allowed for the exemptions in late March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's like saying, 'We're going to remove the radar guns and remove speedometers, but you still have to comply with the speed limit,'" said Eric Schaeffer, now head of the Environmental Integrity Project advocacy group. "That doesn't make sense."

While EPA claims the monitoring waivers do not constitute a license to pollute at will, without effective monitoring there is no way to know.

As a whole, the skipped leak inspections could be endangering oil and gas workers and allowing thousands of tons of greenhouse pollution to be emitted into the atmosphere, a former oil and gas engineer told the AP.

The investigation's findings run counter to statements made by the EPA in June that the coronavirus was not impacting compliance and monitoring, and that the industry was not seeking relief.

In fact, the industry actors aggressively sought and were granted exemptions, as early as March, to skip inspections of smokestacks, tank seals, flare stacks, and emissions monitoring systems, which could raise the risk of explosions.

"As surely as night follows day there are going to be an increased number of deaths from those causes," Philip J. Landrigan, director of the Program for Global Public Health and the Common Good at Boston College, told the AP.

For a deeper dive:

AP

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

Sun Cable hopes to start construction of the world's largest solar farm in 2023. Sun Cable
A large expanse of Australia's deserted Outback will house the world's largest solar farm and generate enough energy to export power to Singapore, as The Guardian reported.
Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Construction on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric station in 2015. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.

Read More Show Less

Trending

We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.

Read More Show Less
A new study has revealed that Earth's biggest mass extinction was triggered by volcanic activity that led to ocean acidification. Illustration by Dawid Adam Iurino (PaleoFactory, Sapienza University of Rome) for Jurikova et al (2020)

The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.

Read More Show Less
Coronavirus-sniffing dogs Miina and Kössi (R) are seen in Vantaa, Finland on September 2, 2020. Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva / AFP/ Getty Images

By Teri Schultz

Europe is in a panic over the second wave of COVID-19, with infection rates sky-rocketing and GDP plummeting. Belgium has just announced it will no longer test asymptomatic people, even if they've been in contact with someone who has the disease, because the backlog in processing is overwhelming. Other European countries are also struggling to keep up testing and tracing.

Meanwhile in a small cabin in Helsinki airport, for his preferred payment of a morsel of cat food, rescue dog Kossi needs just a few seconds to tell whether someone has coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch