Its been six months since Trump declared COVID a public health emergency, and his administration, including ex-coal lobbyist EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, have rolled back at least 30 health protections, while proposing changes to at least 20 others.
According to a new report, Pandemic Rollbacks: Slashing Safeguards During the Coronavirus published by Public Citizen’s Coalition on Sensible Safeguards, dozens of regulatory rollbacks have been enacted or proposed by the Trump administration since March. The report found these protections have nothing to do with protecting us from the pandemic, but everything to do with protecting corporations and polluters with deregulatory favors. From the report:
“Proposed rules that move forward during the national emergency are problematic, because affected parties are less able to provide input as required by law and should have additional time to provide comments. Finalizing rules unrelated to the pandemic saps agency resources that should be directed toward the ongoing crisis.”
In response to mounting rollbacks, twenty-three senators, lead by New Mexico’s Senator Tom Udall, in a letter urged the Trump administration to instruct all federal agencies to indefinitely extend all open or announced upcoming public comment periods and pause any new administrative rulemaking actions, unless those actions are explicitly required to protect us from COVID response and recovery. Sen. Udall wrote:
“It would be flat out wrong for any federal agency to take advantage of a pandemic to push through the Trump administration’s controversial policy agenda when the public isn’t looking. In this moment, every federal agency should be focusing resources to tackle the public health and economic crisis that is disrupting the health, safety, employment and well-being of every American.”
As we struggle to provide for our family, teach our children, and protect our community’s level of vulnerability to the virus – many of us in the midst of deadly wildfires, hurricane threats and heat waves – Americans need the Trump administration to stop playing politics with our health and safety, and start treating science and scientific experts with respect.
TRACK THE ROLLBACKS HERE: