Don't Let EPA Rollbacks Threaten Public Health During COVID-19 Pandemic

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As we respond to COVID-19, we must ensure reliable access to safe and clean water for the sake of public health and the natural resources on which we depend.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just rolled back several regulations meant to protect our environment and our health. Why? Because oil and gas industry executives are worried about the effect the COVID-19 pandemic will have on their wallets. It's now up to the California State Water Resources Control Board to decide on a case-by-case basis when to allow for environmental protections to be violated.

We're asking the State Water Board to protect the environment and the health of our community. Tell them not to be lenient with the fossil fuel industry, to only give leniency to essential services when it is truly necessary and does not jeopardize public health, and to ensure transparency throughout the entire process.

The EPA's action puts public health further at risk by not holding industries accountable for their legal requirements to control their pollution, and it applies across-the-board to any facility regulated by the EPA including private industries that discharge polluted water, as well as essential services including drinking water or wastewater treatment facilities.

COVID-19 continues to cause devastating impacts across all sectors, from individuals to small mom-and-pop businesses to large factories. There may be cases when a relaxation in requirements is acceptable to help those businesses, but to cease oversight altogether is not the answer. Any flexibility needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis because we must ensure reliable access to safe and clean water, especially during this public health crisis.

Now is not the time for blanket rollbacks of protective environmental regulations.

To do this puts people’s health further at risk, particularly those who are already disproportionately burdened by pollution and the inequitable distribution of resources, and who are likely to be most impacted by COVID-19.

Beginning April 1, the State Water Board will be reviewing, on a case-by-case basis, requests from regulated entities to roll back protective measures related to water during the COVID-19 response.

Make your voice heard!

Sign this petition with Heal the Bay to tell our State Water Board to:

  • Uphold environmental regulations to protect public and environmental health,
  • Only give leniency when it is truly necessary and does not jeopardize public health, and
  • Ensure transparency so the public can know when any leniency is given in order to adequately protect themselves and report any issues, and to allow environmental nonprofit groups like Heal the Bay to watchdog the decision-making process.