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Policy Shifts in a Pandemic

Assessing the Environmental Laws and Policies Weakened in Response to Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has led federal, state, and municipal policymakers to adopt a number of measures that suspended, delayed, or relaxed a variety of environmental safeguards. While some of these policy shifts had straightforward justifications, others lacked a clear rationale, raising concerns that the pandemic might have been used as a means for providing unnecessary concessions to favored industries. 

Our report analyzes these pandemic-related policy shifts and their impacts on public health and the environment. It also recommends criteria that agencies can use to determine when to end ongoing policy concessions, so that public safeguards can be restored as quickly as possible. Finally, the report provides guidance on how agencies can increase transparency about these actions, counteract detrimental effects, and preemptively create guidelines to improve responses in a future emergency.