Trump Executive Order May Foul US Drinking Water Supply

 

Trump Executive Order May Foul US Drinking Water Supply

The 2015 Clean Water Rule indicated that federal agencies could regulate certain types of smaller or more isolated waters, like seasonal streams and nearby wetlands. Here, a bayou in Louisiana.

Credit: Riley McKissack/Shutterstock

Pres. Donald Trump insists he wants clean water. In a speech to Congress last week, he vowed to “promote clean air and clean water.” And in an interview with The New York Times last November, he said, “Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important.” Ironically, though, the president just signed an executive order that could pollute many Americans’ drinking water sources.

On February 28, Trump ordered a review of the Clean Water Rule, with the aim of rolling it back. Pres. Barack Obama finalized the Clean Water Rule in June 2015 to clear up confusion over which water bodies the federal government can regulate under the 1972 Clean Water Act, the main federal law for water pollution. Now, legal experts say, Trump appears to want to restrict what types of waters are regulated, much more so than the Clean Water Rule and the regulations before it. Specifically, his executive order—if and when it leads to a final rule—would likely cut protections for many wetlands and smaller streams that help keep U.S. waters clean. All of this could result in dirtier drinking water supplies for millions of Americans. “Almost certainly, some water bodies will face increased pollution under a narrower federal Clean Water Rule,” Daniel Esty, professor of environmental law and policy at Yale Law School, wrote to Scientific American. “It would leave some critical water resources less protected.” Of course, federal agencies will first need to go through a lengthy rule-making process before Trump’s directive becomes a final rule.

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Trump’s Order May Foul U.S. Drinking Water Supply

 

Trump’s Order May Foul U.S. Drinking Water Supply

Narrowing the Clean Water Rule could increase pollution in critical waters

The 2015 Clean Water Rule clarified that federal agencies could also regulate certain types of smaller or more isolated waters, like seasonal streams and wetlands near them, which have a less obvious connection to larger waters. Credit: HildeAnna Getty Images

Pres. Donald Trump insists he wants clean water. In a speech to Congress last week, he vowed to “promote clean air and clean water.” And in an interview with The New York Times last November, he said, “Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important.” Ironically, though, the president just signed an executive order that could pollute many Americans’ drinking water sources.

On February 28, Trump ordered a review of the Clean Water Rule, with the aim of rolling it back. Pres. Barack Obama finalized the Clean Water Rule in June 2015 to clear up confusion over which water bodies the federal government can regulate under the 1972 Clean Water Act, the main federal law for water pollution. Now, legal experts say, Trump appears to want to restrict what types of waters are regulated, much more so than the Clean Water Rule and the regulations before it. Specifically, his executive order—if and when it leads to a final rule—would likely cut protections for many wetlands and smaller streams that help keep U.S. waters clean. All of this could result in dirtier drinking water supplies for millions of Americans. “Almost certainly, some water bodies will face increased pollution under a narrower federal Clean Water Rule,” Daniel Esty, professor of environmental law and policy at Yale Law School, wrote to Scientific American. “It would leave some critical water resources less protected.” Of course, federal agencies will first need to go through a lengthy rule-making process before Trump’s directive becomes a final rule.

Continue reading “Trump’s Order May Foul U.S. Drinking Water Supply”

Trump Stands to Gain Financially from EPA Clean Water Rollbacks

 

Trump Stands to Gain Financially from EPA Clean Water Rollbacks

Flooding in Port Richey, Florida.

The dismantling has begun. Last Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order (yes, another one) to peel back one of the more controversial layers of environmental protections put in place by the Barack Obama administration.

Trump’s order directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to “review” a rule that assigns federal jurisdiction over tributaries and headwaters that flow into federally-protected water sources.

Formally called a technical regulation, the Clean Water Rule had one fairly important purpose in the eyes of the Obama administration: It clarified which waters, streams and wetlands were protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and, by doing so, gave the EPA the voice to prevent destruction of wetlands or tributaries that might affect key water sources further downstream.

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H.Res. 152: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that clean water is a national priority, and that the June 29, 2015, Waters of the United States Rule should be withdrawn or vacated. Overview Details Text

H.Res. 152: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that clean water is a national priority, and that the June 29, 2015, Waters of the United States Rule should be withdrawn or vacated. 

115th CONGRESS, 1st Session

H. RES. 152 IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, February 27, 2017

(for himself, Mr. McClintock, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Jody B. Hice of Georgia, Mr. Messer, Mr. Babin, Mrs. Wagner, Mr. Brady of Texas, Mr. Denham, Mr. Marino, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Lewis of Minnesota, Mr. Hensarling, Mr. Thomas J. Rooney of Florida, Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Rogers of Alabama, Mr. King of Iowa, Mr. DesJarlais, Mrs. Noem, Mr. Yoho, Mr. Gosar, Mr. Cramer, Mrs. Mimi Walters of California, Mr. Harper, Mr. Westerman, Mr. Smucker, Mr. Graves of Missouri, Mr. Thompson of Pennsylvania, Mr. Culberson, Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Renacci, Ms. Jenkins of Kansas, Mr. Jones, Mr. Latta, Mr. Young of Iowa, and Mr. Grothman) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that clean water is a national priority, and that the June 29, 2015, Waters of the United States Rule should be withdrawn or vacated.

Whereas the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) is one of the most important laws in the United States and has led to decades of successful environmental improvements;

Whereas the success of that Act depends on consistent adherence to the key principle of cooperative federalism, under which the Federal Government and State and local governments all have a role in protecting water resources;

Whereas, in structuring the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) based on the foundation of cooperative federalism, Congress left to the States their traditional authority over land and water, including farmers’ fields, nonnavigable, wholly intrastate water (including puddles and ponds), and the allocation of water supplies;

Continue reading “H.Res. 152: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that clean water is a national priority, and that the June 29, 2015, Waters of the United States Rule should be withdrawn or vacated. Overview Details Text”