The world as we knew it has drastically changed in relation to this global pandemic. The uncertainty alone can force the action of re-prioritizing tasks, perhaps relabeling environmental programs as lower priority. As a result, existing gaps could grow causing a greater amount of work for when things do stabilize. Thus, having a contingency plan can alleviate this headache. Allowing for you to hit the ground running rather than play catch up.
While we charter the unknown, its important to remember your environmental obligations. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced their position regarding enforcement and compliance during this pandemic. EPA’s new enforcement and compliance policy will be retroactive back to March 13, 2020, allowing states and tribes their own discretion. Be sure to review your state’s policy as well. As part of your contingency plan, be sure to address and document why environmental compliance obligations cannot be met during this pandemic. Good record-keeping is crucial. Therefore, it should be a major component to your contingency plan. Lastly, be sure to educate your employees about your contingency plan and make it readily available to them. The more employees are kept in the know, the more they will feel at ease.
With Earth Day around the corner (April 22, 2020), its worth mentioning some positive impacts this pandemic has had on our environment. Air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions, have decreased on a global scale. For example, nitrogen dioxide has decreased in concentration in the northeast region of the United States. Air pollution reductions that contribute to health issues such as asthma or other respirator diseases, can reduce medical costs. Allowing funds to be utilized elsewhere. So, stop … and take a breath!
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