Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam
The Latest on green energy policy (all times local):
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared a “national emergency” over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a rare step for the agency as it seeks to stem the nation’s air pollution and climate crisis.
The declaration comes after President Donald Trump on Saturday signed an order directing all federal agencies to coordinate with the EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address the impacts of the coronavirus, the agency announced.
The EPA is working with 13 state and local agencies on emissions reductions to prevent air pollution, and as a nationwide public health and environmental justice outreach and education campaign.
The agency has also identified additional sources of greenhouse gas emissions that require public health and environmental programs to improve air quality, according to EPA Assistant Administrator Jeff D. Volume and EPA Chief of Staff Amy Myers.
The agency will coordinate with states and stakeholders to develop plans to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and public health risks linked to the outbreak.
The Trump administration says the U.S. should act with urgency to halt and reverse the spread of the coronavirus, and its efforts are accelerating.
The declaration on Monday was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency late Saturday as part of President Donald Trump’s sweeping executive order to direct all federal agencies to coordinate with the agency and the federal departments of agriculture and agriculture-related agencies to take action to address the outbreak.
The move is significant for the agency, which President Donald Trump has criticized for spending “millions” of dollars on the fight against climate change and has promised to protect the nation’s waterways from the spread of the coronavirus.
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