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US EPA Opens Door to Waivers for Coronavirus, but Observers Downplay Impact

Bracewell’s Kevin Collins shared his perspective with S&P Global Market Intelligence on how the US Environmental Protection Agency appears to be acknowledging the difficulties companies are facing complying with regulations during the pandemic. In addition, as facilities reduce headcount, Collins noted that labor may need to be redirected to critical safety functions or production-related tasks unrelated to environmental compliance.

“Would you rather the few workers who are in the nation’s chemistry plants devote their time to meeting increased demand for vital chemical products such as sanitizers, disinfectants, or plastics, or filling out routine environmental reports? In the short run, I’ll take the former option,” Collins said.

The EPA has historically, and on a case-by-case basis, granted narrowly tailored waivers known as “no action assurances” to certain entities and locations during natural disasters to ensure the continued operation of critical energy infrastructure.

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