Thousands allowed to bypass environmental rules in pandemic

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The Environmental Protection Agency says its clemency was not a license for increased pollution

In this Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, photo New Hampshire Rep. Nancy Murphy, D-Merrimack, poses for a photo outside the Saint-Gobain plastics factory in Merrimack, N.H.

In this Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, photo New Hampshire Rep. Nancy Murphy, D-Merrimack, poses for a photo outside the Saint-Gobain plastics factory in Merrimack, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP) – Thousands of oil and gas operations and other sites have won permission to stop monitoring for hazardous emissions or otherwise break government rules because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The findings come in after an investigation by The Associated Press.

The Trump administration announced the first nationwide, extended easing of environmental enforcement in March.

Oil and gas companies had complained that the pandemic was complicating compliance with pollution rules.

Facilities won permission more than 3,000 times to skimp on compliance during the sweeping government clemency.  

The Environmental Protection Agency says its clemency was not a license for increased pollution.

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