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Trump administration indefinitely suspends some environmental protection laws during coronavirus pandemic

By Sophie Lewis

Updated on: March 31, 2020 / 8:58 PM / CBS News

The Trump administration introduced this week a sweeping relaxation of environmental laws and fines during the coronavirus pandemic. According to new guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), companies will largely be exempt from consequences for polluting the air or water during the outbreak. 

In a letter to all government and private sector partners on Thursday, the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Parker Bodine said that the agency does not expect power plants, factories or other companies to meet environmental standards and reporting of pollution during this time — and it won’t pursue penalties if companies break the rules. 

Under normal circumstances, companies are required to report when they release certain levels of pollution into the air or water. Now, the EPA has effectively ceded its federal authority to state offices and said companies will be responsible for monitoring their own air and water pollution during this time. 

“In general, the EPA does not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that COVID-19 was the cause of the noncompliance and the entity provides supporting documentation to the EPA upon request,” Bodine wrote.

Polluters will be able to avoid penalties for breaking environmental laws if they claim that the violations were in some way related to the pandemic. The agency asked companies to “minimize the effects and duration of any noncompliance” and “act responsibly” during this period. 

“EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment, but recognizes the challenges resulting from efforts to protect workers and the public from COVID-19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements,” said EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler in a press release.

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The guidance applies retroactively beginning March 13 and extends indefinitely. 

An EPA spokesperson said the policy applies to “compliance monitoring and reporting” and “is not a nationwide waiver of environmental rules.” The spokesperson added that in other situations, the agency would “take the pandemic into account on a case by case basis.” 

But critics of the new guidelines argue the relaxed laws will result in more pollution and make it difficult to assess the resulting environmental damage. More air pollution not only leads to a warmer climate, but it can also cause major respiratory issues, among other health problems — potentially putting the communities who live near these facilities at an increased risk for contracting COVID-19. 

“This is an open license to pollute. Plain and simple,” Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council and former EPA Administrator, said in a press release. “The administration should be giving its all toward making our country healthier right now. Instead, it is taking advantage of an unprecedented public health crisis to do favors for polluters that threaten public health. We can all appreciate the need for additional caution and flexibility in a time of crisis, but this brazen directive is an abdication of the EPA’s responsibility to protect our health.”

Several environmental organizations put out statements opposing the new guidelines. 

“At a time when communities across the country are desperately trying to clean up polluted waters and one-third of wildlife species are at a heightened risk of extinction, this misguided rule places our drinking water, our wildlife and our nation’s way of life further at risk,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, in a statement.

“As the country focuses on protecting public health and safety from COVID-19, Donald Trump and Andrew Wheeler are exploiting this pandemic to make toxic pollution legal,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of environmental organization the Sierra Club, in a statement. “This illegal and reckless action will not go unchecked.”

Wheeler defended the move on Twitter Friday, saying the EPA is working to protect public health and the environment “while providing a small degree of flexibility during these extraordinary times.”

First published on March 28, 2020 / 3:16 PM

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Survival preparedness includes numerous precautionary steps to protect yourself and your family. These steps should be prioritized and accomplished in order according to their importance. One of the most crucial steps in survival preparedness is storing and preparing a way to provide drinkable water in survival situations.

Water is the life-fluid for the human body. It aids and facilitates a variety of bodily functions such as carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, allows proper digestion, flushing waste and toxins from the body, regulates body temperature and cushioning the joints. In a way, water can compared to oil in a vehicle. With the proper amount and quality of oil, a vehicle runs smoothly and efficiently. With low oil level and quality, a vehicle will run roughly and the different parts will begin to fail. With no oil a vehicle will burn out and eventually die. Water has the same effect on the body.

The standard amount of water a person should drink is eight 8 ounce glasses per day. This amount is difficult to drink for most people. The correct amount of water a person should drink per day depends on each individual. A good rule of thumb is the more the better! Men should drink more water than women and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should drink more water than women who are not. Also, a person that exercises should drink more water than someone who does not. Climate and altitude also play a role in how much water a person should drink. High altitude and a dry or hot climate cause the required daily amount of water to go up. Clothing also plays a part in necessary water consumption. Since different parts of the body lose different quantities of water through evaporation, breathing and sweating, the necessary daily intake of water for each person also depends on the clothing a person is wearing.
Not drinking enough water often occurs in survival situations and leads to dehydration. Even if you are simply thirsty, you are experiencing a mild state of dehydration. Some signs that you are dehydrated include dry skin, constipation, frequent urinary tract infections, reoccurring headaches, muscle weakness, sleepiness and dizziness.

Dehydration is a key concern for survival preparedness. Once you are dehydrated, your body begins to shut down and continues to shut down until the required supply of water is replenished. Without water, the average person can last a few days to a just over a week at the most. This short timeline that one can last without water is partly due to evaporation factors. In an extremely hot climate, a person may not last even 24 hours without water. In cooler climates, a person may last a week.

Without water, the kidneys shut down within a couple of days which eventually leads to death. In addition, without adequate water the body experiences other side-effects such as ketosis and uremia (build up of toxins in the blood), organ failure, electrolyte imbalance that causes cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, low blood pressure leading to blood clots, brain damage and eventually death.

Water is also a key factor of survival preparedness because it affects morale. Staying positive and focused in a survival situation is difficult if you do not have enough water to keep you from becoming dehydrated.

Though the effects of having no water are serious, the precautions one can take to have sufficient water for survival preparedness are affordable and simple. Many options exist to ensure you are prepared for survival situations such as water purification devices and tablets, water filtrations devices and various storage options. No matter the method you choose to ensure you will have water to drink in survival situations, do not underestimate water’s role in survival preparedness.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2920699

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