Millett joins legislators from 40 states denouncing EPA’s suspension of regulatory compliance

Posted: April 14, 2020 | Senator Millett

AUGUSTA – Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, recently joined more than 270 members of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, representing 40 states, in opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to suspend regulatory compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the EPA’s new guidance, the agency plans to limit enforcement action on companies that pollute air and/or water.  

“It’s outrageous that the Trump administration is rolling back environmental protections in the middle of a global pandemic,” said Sen. Millett. “We know that neighborhoods disproportionately affected by poor air quality and pollution will suffer greatly from the virus. This is no time to exacerbate the problem. To give polluters a pass on their responsibilities to all of us in helping to ensure clean air and water is unconscionable.” 

While COVID-19 threatens the health and safety of many around the country, vulnerable people in our communities are facing some of the highest mortality rates from the coronavirus. These same groups are also threatened by the EPA’s decision. Those exposed to poor air quality are more likely to die from complications from COVID-19, and pollution sources are more likely to be located in low-income communities. As a result, these communities experience compounded health risks. 

Throughout her tenure in the Maine Legislature, Sen. Millett has been an ardent supporter of measures protecting Maine’s environment and natural resources and addressing climate change. During the 129th Legislature, she sponsored two measures to ensure her community’s health and safety from the nearby South Portland Oil Terminal Facility. The first law, LD 1706, “An Act to Ensure Public Notification of Air Quality Violations,” which has already taken effect, requires an affected municipality to be informed when there is an air quality violation. The second law, LD 1915, “Resolve, Directing the Department of Environmental Protection To Evaluate Emissions from Heated Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tanks,” which will take effect on June 16, directs the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a study of the emissions that are produced by petroleum storage tanks, such as the ones in South Portland. These new laws have given community members peace of mind in knowing when air qualitymay be affected as well as helping get real, evidence-based answers to limiting petroleum storagefacilities’ toxic emissions. 

The full letter that Sen. Millett cosigned can be read here