by Stephen Lendman
During the Nixon era, the 1972 Clean Water Act covered “all waters of the US,” knowing they’re interconnected.
Yet Supreme Court decisions and subsequent agency guidance left many of the nation’s waters unprotected for over a decade, threatening supplies for millions of Americans, “putting 20 million acres of wetlands at risk, and leaving 59% of all stream miles in the continental United States unprotected,” according to the Sierra Club.
The 2015 Clean Water Rule (also called Waters of the United States - WOTUS) redefined regulatory safeguards of US waterways earlier protected under the Clean Water Act.
The Sierra Club called it commonsense protection of America’s lakes, rivers and streams. Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica said it’ll help “ensure our waterways stay clean,” adding it’s based on “sound science,” benefitting everyone except polluters.
On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order, directing anti-environmentalist EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to eliminate Clean Water Rule protections, disgracefully calling it “a horrible, horrible rule. Has sort of a nice name, but everything else is bad.”
“Today the Trump administration ordered a review of the Clean Water Rule, which could roll back critical protections for streams and wetlands and put the drinking water sources for millions of Americans at risk from pollution.”
“Finalized in 2015, the Clean Water Rule clearly defined the waterways subject to protection under the Clean Water Act, in order to prevent their pollution and destruction and provide clean water for drinking, agriculture, and forestry.”
“As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt sued the agency he now governs to stop implementation of the Clean Water Rule.”
“It will take more than an executive order, however, to undo the Clean Water Rule. The Obama administration held more than 400 stakeholder meetings and reviewed over 1,200 scientific studies to develop the 408-page technical report that accompanied the Rule, and the Trump administration will have to justify any changes with science and the law.”
“Friends of the Earth Oceans Campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response: Water is life, and Trump’s dirty water order puts our environment and millions of American lives at risk so that polluters can profit from the destruction of our waterways.”
“The Clean Water Rule is grounded in science and the law so that our streams and wetlands can keep us healthy and safe, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and beautiful places to recreate.”
“In contrast, Trump’s dirty water order is dangerous and illegal, based on corporate greed and unlawful environmental pollution.”
Trump’s action reflected his promise to deregulate corporate America, putting profits ahead of people and human health.
Water is a fundamental human right, essential for life, belonging to everyone. No one has a right to pollute, waste or exploit it for profit.
It’s limited and exhaustible. Conservation is essential. Eliminating clean water protections is ecological terrorism.
A Final Comment
Trump reportedly wants EPA’s budget cut by nearly one fourth, its staff cut from over 15,000 to around 12,000. According to his EPA transition team head Myron Ebell, “(y)ou’re going to have major reductions,” adding “(b)usinesses have to do this all the time.”
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.