One executive order will
instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015
regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric
utilities. It also instructs the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing.
A second order will instruct the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to revamp a 2015 rule, known as the Waters of the United States rule,
that applies to 60 percent of the water bodies in the country. That
regulation was issued under the 1972 Clean Water Act, which gives the
federal government authority over not only major water bodies but also
the wetlands, rivers and streams that feed into them. It affects
development as well as some farming operations on the grounds that these
activities could pollute the smaller or intermittent bodies of water
that flow into major ones.
Bottom line: Republicans aim to a allow:
- Coal mining national parks, allowing foreign mining companies to pollute parks and not pay for clean up. - Increase air pollution from power plants - Dump industrial chemicals, pesticides, and livestock waste into US rivers and streams.
Zero objective analysis provided this will MAGA or create jobs.
A terrific encapsulation of all the crap that trump and the Republicans in the House and Senate are doing or are preparing to do to destroy so many things that have taken years to put in place. All for money and to make few a few billionaires even more billionaire-ish.
That’s what President Trump and his climate-denying administration are seemingly trying to do. From plans to gut the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and others to promises to rid of pollution limits for power plants, oil, and gas drilling, the Trump Administration is launching a full-on assault on the environment. Republicans in Congress are no better, as they are moving fast to overturn Obama-era environmental and health protections to the delight of oil, gas, and coal industries. In the past week they have already eliminated a rule that would have limited bribery and corruption in oil operations around the world as well as the Stream Protection Rule, which would prevent toxic mine waste from being dumped in rivers and drinking water. And next week, the Senate is scheduled to vote to overturn limits on methane and asthma-causing ozone pollution from drilling.
Trump’s attacks on the environment hurt American’s health. The link between environmental hazards and public health is clear: ozone increases risk for asthma and greenhouse gases exacerbate climate change, which poses a serious threat to human health. This, coupled with Republicans attacks on the Affordable Care Act, create a two-pronged assault on public health. And it’s everyday Americans, particularly in states that voted for Trump, who will pay from poorer health and environmental degradation. Some of the states that are most at risk are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, and New Mexico. Read about Trump’s attacks on the environment and public health here and see how your state fares here.
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.