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EPA’s relaxed enforcement of pollution reporting due to COVID-19 ends in August

Credit: CC0 Public Domain The Environmental Protection Agency will end a temporary policy that relaxed reporting requirements on pollutants due to the coronavirus at the end of August, amid criticism that the pandemic policy has jeopardized public health.

Democratic lawmakers, several states and the agency’s inspector general all criticized the EPA policy that went into effect in March, warning that it would lead to increased pollution and decreased monitoring. They also expressed concern that the policy did not have a clear end date.

The pandemic policy will now officially expire at midnight on Aug. 31, Susan Parker Bodine, author of the policy and assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at the EPA, told McClatchy in an interview.

The temporary policy was aimed at regulated facilities struggling to meet the EPA’s various reporting requirements amid increased remote work. When the agency put the policy in place, it said it would not seek penalties if facilities dealing in pollutants missed “routine reporting” obligations and could prove it was caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

“We picked the August 31 date as the termination date to give folks—the regulatory community and the states—a heads up to allow them to prepare for the sunsetting of the […]

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