Trump continues to do everything within his power to further enrich corporations at the expense of the environment and people lower on the economic ladder. Is this blatant bias favoring the rich and powerful the new normal?
Today, it was announced that the Trump administration will strip away environmental protections for streams and wetlands when it finalizes the rollback of Obama-era rules that stopped pollutants from being dumped into the nation’s bodies of water.
From Day 1 of his administration, President Trump vowed to repeal President Barack Obama’s “Waters of the United States” regulation, which had frustrated rural landowners. His new rule, which will be implemented in the coming weeks, is the latest step in the Trump administration’s push to repeal or weaken nearly 100 environmental rules and laws, loosening or eliminating rules on climate change, clean air, chemical pollution, coal mining, oil drilling and endangered species protections.
Trump’s new rule will be implemented in the coming weeks and will remove federal protections from more than half of the nation’s wetlands, and hundreds of thousands of waterways.
It will allow farmers to dump toxic substances such as pesticides and fertilizers into those waterways, and allow property developers to destroy wetlands for construction projects.
Blan Holman, a lawyer specializing in federal water policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center, said: “This puts drinking water for millions of Americans at risk of contamination from unregulated pollution.”
Trump has previously condemned the regulations as “horrible,” “destructive” and “one of the worst examples of federal” overreach.
“I terminated one of the most ridiculous regulations of all: the last administration’s disastrous Waters of the United States rule,” he told the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention in Texas on Sunday, to rousing applause.
“That was a rule that basically took your property away from you,” added Mr. Trump, whose real estate holdings include more than a dozen golf courses. (Golf course developers were among the key opponents of the Obama rule and key backers of the new one.)
Trump is not only rolling back 2015 rules that guaranteed protections under the 1972 Clean Water Act to certain wetlands and streams that run intermittently or run temporarily underground, but also relieves landowners of the need to seek permits that the Environmental Protection Agency had considered on a case-by-case basis before the Obama rule.
The new water rule will remove federal protections from more than half the nation’s wetlands, and hundreds of thousands of small waterways. That would for the first time in decades allow landowners and property developers to dump pollutants such as pesticides and fertilizers directly into many of those waterways, and to destroy or fill in wetlands for construction projects.
Last month, a government advisory board of scientists, many of whom were handpicked by the Trump administration, wrote that the proposed water rule “neglects established science.”
Karen Harbert, chief executive officer of the American Gas Association, said the new rule “would restore the proper balance between federal and state regulation of our nation’s waters and protect our rivers, streams and lakes without stifling construction of important infrastructure.”
“This is rolling back federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act further than it’s ever been before,” said Patrick Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School.
“Waters that have been protected for almost 50 years will no longer be protected under the Clean Water Act.”
That could open millions of acres of pristine wetlands to pollution or destruction, and allow chemicals and other pollutants to be discharged into smaller headland waters that eventually drain into larger water bodies, experts in water management said. Wetlands play key roles in filtering surface water and protecting against floods, while also providing wildlife habitat.
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