While We Were Protesting: Trump Weakens 3 Key Enviro Regulations, Citing COVID19

The move essentially suspends laws around building new mines, pipelines, and highways––all of which, historically, have disproportionately poisoned Black neighborhoods and other communities of color.

As protests continue against police brutality, systemic racism, and the police killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and  hundreds of other Black people in the United States over the past few years, the Trump administration appears to be trying to pull a fast one on environmental policy. Fortunately, enviro justice journalists are still watching, and––as the Verge’s Justine Calma reports––the decision could have severe health consequences for communities of color.

To sum up Calma’s reporting on the topic, President Trump signed an executive order last Thursday giving a green light to major infrastructure and energy products to move forward without key environmental reviews. Laws affected include the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, and would essentially speed up the approval process for construction on new mines, pipelines, and highways being built in the United States over the next few months.

The move, according to Trump is to help kickstart the economy after COVID-19. However, environmental activists say it could also come with grave consequences, especially for communities of color, which are already disproportionately affected by pollution from key infrastructure across the country.

“When we say we can’t breathe, we are not only talking about the knees on our necks and chokeholds from police, but also the squeezing of life from our lungs brought on by the pollution that the Trump Administration continues to pump into our bodies by rolling back the very laws that are meant to give us justice and access,” Mustafa Santiago Ali, the former associate administrator of the EPA’s now-gutted Office of Environmental Justice told Calma in a recent email statement.

To learn more about what’s been happening in environmental policy this week, check out more of Calma’s reporting here––which spans Black birders, the impending hurricane season, controversial fuel standard lawsuits, rising sea levels, and more.

Read more on The Verge.