“The directive to undo the clean water initiative is expected to be
closely followed by another aimed at unraveling the Obama
administration’s ambitious plan to fight climate change by curbing power
plant emissions. … Trump vowed Tuesday that he would continue to undermine the Obama-era
environmental protections wherever he sees the opportunity, arguing they
have cost jobs.”
My Administration is committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes, and open spaces, and to protecting endangered species.
The lying asshole who put climate change skeptics/deniers in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and Department of the Interior;
repealed the Stream Protection Rule;
removed funding for the Clean Power Plan, the Clean Air Act, the
Green Climate Fund, and the EPA itself; revived the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines; and whose administration is rolling back regulations on methane emissions and vehicle pollution standards and is “reconsidering” the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards and the Clean Water Act
Clean water is essential to life – and the people of our states and the nation deserve the basic protections established by the Clean Water Rule, to ensure that the benefits of clean water are shared equally, regardless of state lines.
We won’t hesitate to protect our people and our environment—including by aggressively opposing in court President Trump’s actions that ignore both the law and the public’s paramount need for clean water.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and a coalition of attorneys general from the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont, in response to Donald Trump’s executive order to start eliminating the Clean Water Rule (also known as the Waters of the United States Rule).
Above: one of several fires on the Cuyahoga River in Ohio. Used as a dump for about two centuries, it caught fire on a regular basis. “When the Cuyahoga burst into flame in 1969, it was not a huge deal to locals. After all, the river had burned almost every decade over the previous century,” writes James Salzman. The Cuyahoga was not the only river to catch fire. Indeed, dozens of rivers around the nation were terribly polluted (Salzman tells of a fall into the Charles River in Boston in the ’70s. He went to hospital for skin treatment).
It is inconceivable to think that our rivers were actually this bad, but they were: there were no environmental laws, and no system of regulations or penalties. Waste was dumped into rivers for decades and decades. The Cuyahoga fires were an accidental symbol of deterioration that verged on scandal. Now rivers are pretty much cleaned up thanks to the Clean Water Act, which just turned 40.
Duke environmental law professor, James Salzman wrote about the Clean Water Act (CWA) for Slate. Salzman’s article, “Why Rivers No Longer Burns” shows that politicians can work together, so long as they have the guts to actually govern. He writes that the Clean Water Act is one of the greatest successes in environmental law. It’s a short overview of how the CWA came to be. I remember being inspired to go to law school when I read similar short articles on the environment. Perhaps you will too…
In 1972, a landmark law reversed the course of this filthy tide. Today, four decades later, the Clean Water Act stands as one of the great success stories of environmental law. Supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, the act took a completely new approach to environmental protection. The law flatly stated there would be no discharge of pollutants from a point source (a pipe or ditch) into navigable waters without a permit. No more open sewers dumping crud into the local stream or bay. Permits would be issued by environmental officials and require the installation of the best available pollution-control technologies.
The waste flushed down drains and toilets needed a different approach, so the Clean Water Act provided for billions of dollars in grants to construct and upgrade publicly owned sewage-treatment works around the nation. To protect the lands that filter and purify water as it flows by, permits were also required for draining and filling wetlands. Protecting our nation’s waters may seem like common sense today, but the idea of nationally uniform, tough standards against polluters was both original and radical. Thinking big, the Clean Water Act’s preamble declared that the nation’s waters would be swimmable and fishable within a decade, with no discharges of pollutants within a dozen years. These weren’t idle boasts.
If there’s one issue that hasn’t been talked about enough in this election, it’s the environment.
Yet the difference between the parties is stark: Republicans, bankrolled by polluters like the Koch Brothers, want to cut the EPA and rollback or weaken vital environmental protections like the Clean Air and Clean Water Act, laws that ensure millions of Americans can breath our air and drink our water safely.
Mitt Romney calls the EPA “a tool in the hands of the President to crush the private enterprise system,” and has vowed to block needed protections on things like fracking and carbon emissions.
Interviews include Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-7) and policy experts from the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, and 350.org, who share the history, purpose, and success of our environmental laws, and push back on the Republican lie that environemntal protections are bad for the economy.
With the health of millions of Americans potentially impacted by the dangerous positions of Mitt Romney and Republican lawmakers, it’s vital that this issue isn’t forgotten this election season. Help us spread the word by sharing the video.
The American economy has performed well over the past four decades: real per capita income has doubled since 1970 and pollution is down even with 50 percent more people. The choice between a healthy environment and a healthy economy is a false one. They stand, or fall, together. We’ve been blessed in the United States with abundant water resources. But we also face daunting challenges that are putting new demands on those resources — continuing growth; the need for water for food, energy production and manufacturing; the push for biofuel crops; the threat of new contaminants; climate change and just maintaining and restoring our natural systems.
If we narrow our vision of the Clean Water Act, if we buy into the misguided notion that reducing protection of our waters will somehow ignite the economy, we will shortchange our health, environment and economy.
I don’t quite understand why the EPA is coming under so much attack this election cycle. I get that some people find any and all regulation reprehensible, but if the government shouldn’t be the ones to regulate the environment, then who should? Perhaps an independent commission of executives from BP, Exxon, et. al.? Ya, that’s probably the right solution.
After six years of deliberation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in May will decide on changes to the Clean Water Act that would direct power companies to remove dangerous impurities, including carcinogens, from coal ash wastewater before releasing it into rivers that supply drinking water.
While the new regulations will not prohibit riverside coal ash disposal sites, the increased cost of wastewater treatment - up to $1 billion for the industry each year - could persuade power producers to move such sites inland, experts and industry groups said.