The best editorial of the weekend

Image: Natural Resources Defense Council

In case you missed it, be sure to check out an excellent editorial that ran this weekend in the Winston-Salem Journal and Greensboro News & Record.

In “Distraction = more environmental damage,” the authors show how the Trump administration is, in an especially egregious example of its utter moral bankruptcy, using the health pandemic to justify its ongoing effort to eviscerate crucial environmental protection rules.

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s not just that people aren’t paying as much attention while distracted by the pandemic. The Trump administration has also been using the pandemic to justify its assault on environmental regulations.

In late March, while Trump was saying the coronavirus wouldn’t amount to much here, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would no longer impose penalties if companies didn’t monitor and report pollution during the pandemic.

In March, as our lives were beginning to be seriously disrupted by the pandemic, the White House refused to extend the deadline for comments on a major rewrite — in other words, weakening — of the National Environmental Policy rules that have dictated approval of federal projects for more than 40 years.

And, still in March, the EPA proposed a change that would let scientists working for the agency ignore reputable human health studies, to speed things up.

Also in March, a weakening of one of the nation’s oldest and most successful environmental laws, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, was rushed forward by the Interior Department. In most cases, companies will no longer face penalties if their projects kill migratory birds.

On the last day of March, the EPA announced its rollback of tougher auto emission standards established under President Barack Obama.

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