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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Activists Say Pandemic Underscores Need for Water Access, Regulation

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

As governmental agencies look the other way, issues of air pollution, water access and species extinction hang in the balance.

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The novel coronavirus pandemic has has drawn attention to the the consequences of insufficient water access, air pollution and the role of federal oversight.

The pandemic has put this all into sharp focus. There shouldn’t be water shutoffs, period.” — Mike Shriberg, National Wildlife Federation

But now, regulators are rolling back environmental regulations, when many Americans may not be paying attention.

Listen: Water Access Takes Center Stage During Coronavirus Pandemic


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Mike Shriberg, Regional Executive Director of the Great Lakes region of the National Wildlife Federation, says the current health crisis has reinforced the importance of access to basic utilities.  

The pandemic has put this all into sharp focus. There shouldn’t be water shutoffs, period,” says Shriberg. He adds that despite the necessity of water, many are edged out of the resource based on income.

What is a more basic human right than access to water?” asks Shriberg. 

Nathan Murphy, Environment Michigan’s State Director, says that as humans retreat into isolation, we are seeing various species populate once bustling urban environments, a sign of nature’s resiliency. He says it’s important to not take this resiliency for granted and to put in place measures to prevent species from extinction and to promote the health of the environment more broadly.

Really, what we’re doing is opening a huge loophole for companies to take advantage of as long as they can blame it on the COVID-19 pandemic.” — Nathan Murphy, Environment Michigan

Yet, instead of increasing protective measures, he says the federal government has announced it will be easing oversight and enforcement during the pandemic.

Really, what we’re doing is opening a huge loophole for companies to take advantage of as long as they can blame it on the COVID-19 pandemic.” says Murphy. 

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Detroit Today

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