Responding to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement it would indefinitely suspend enforcement of environmental laws due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Richard Pearshouse, Amnesty International’s Head of Crisis and the Environment, said:
“The Trump administration is cynically abusing this crisis to achieve its pre-COVID-19 goal of gutting US environmental regulations.
“It’s difficult to overstate the risk. The decision to indefinitely suspend the protections afforded by environmental laws will kill or compromise the health of large numbers of people. These impacts will be felt by everyone in the USA, but particularly by people already facing marginalization and discrimination, including those who live in areas surrounded by heavily polluting industrial facilities.
“EPA enforcement of environmental laws saves hundreds of thousands of people from premature death each year, and millions more from unnecessary illnesses and sicknesses. This decision should be immediately revoked.
“This could have a devastating knock-on effect on human rights globally if other state authorities follow suit and abdicate their responsibility to protect their populations from pollutants in the air, water and ground.”