CPR's Verchick Notes Weakening Environmental Enforcement during Pandemic Endangers Fenceline Communities

Brian Gumm

April 21, 2020

On April 17, CPR Board President Rob Verchick joined EPA enforcement chief Susan Bodine and other panelists for an American Bar Association webinar on environmental protections and enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the event, Bodine expressed "surprise" that the agency's pandemic enforcement policy was so roundly criticized, but she shouldn't have been caught off guard by those critiques.

As Verchick noted during the discussion, "The problem with [weakening monitoring and pollution reporting requirements] is that fenceline communities have no idea where to look. They have no idea if the facilities in their backyards are…taking a holiday from pollution requirements or not."

Verchick added, "Companies don't know what their competitors are doing, and so now you've got companies who might be thinking, oh, well, my competing facilities, maybe they're taking advantage of this and I must, too, because nobody knows who's taking advantage of it and who isn't."

He also pointed out the scope of the problem that EPA's policy creates, saying, "I mean, when you're talking about hundreds of thousands of facilities…you have no idea where to look [for pollution spikes]."

You can watch and listen below.

ABA Webinar with Rob Verchick

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