Trump Eases Pollution Controls On Streams And Wetlands

  
Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  13 comments

Trump Eases Pollution Controls On Streams And Wetlands
“This will be the biggest loss of clean water protection the country has ever seen,” said Blan Holman, a lawyer specializing in federal water policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “This puts drinking water for millions of Americans at risk of contamination from unregulated pollution. This is not just undoing the Obama rule. This is stripping away protections that were put in place in the ’70s and ’80s that Americans have relied on for their health.” Mr. Holman al

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Trump Eases Pollution Controls On Streams And Wetlands


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By      Coral Davenport

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday will finalize a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and other water bodies, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had shackled them with onerous and unnecessary burdens.

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.

Mr. Trump, whose own real estate and golf-course empires almost certainly ran into the Obama rule, has called the regulation “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,” Mr. Trump told the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention in Texas on Sunday, to rousing applause. He added, “That was a rule that basically took your property away from you.”

His administration had completed the first step of its demise in September with the      rule’s repeal   .

His replacement on Thursday will complete the process, 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.

It also gives President Trump a major policy achievement to bring to his political base while his impeachment trial continues.

“Farmers coalesced against the E.P.A. being able to come onto their land, and he’s delivering,” said Jessica Flanagain, a Republican strategist in Lincoln, Neb. “This is bigger news for agricultural producers than whatever is happening with the sideshow in D.C.,” she added.

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.

“This will be the biggest loss of clean water protection the country has ever seen,” said Blan Holman, a lawyer specializing in federal water policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “This puts drinking water for millions of Americans at risk of contamination from unregulated pollution. This is not just undoing the Obama rule. This is stripping away protections that were put in place in the ’70s and ’80s that Americans have relied on for their health.”

Mr. Holman also said that the new rule exemplifies how the Trump administration has      dismissed or marginalized scientific evidence   . 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.”

But farmers and fossil fuel groups supported the change.

“This is a big win for farmers, and this is the president delivering what he promised,” said Donald Parrish, senior director of regulatory affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation, which had lobbied for years to weaken the Obama administration’s water rules.

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.”

Legal experts say that Mr. Trump’s replacement rule would go further than simply repealing and replacing the 2015 Obama rule — it would also eliminate protections to smaller headwaters that have been implemented for decades under the 1972 Clean Water Act.

“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.

Ean Thomas Tafoya, a Colorado-based clean water activist with the group GreenLatinos, said the new rule could harm the quality of the water in the Colorado River, which supplies water to 17 western states.

“We are a headwater state,” he said. “This rollback will affect almost every single stream that flows into the Colorado River.”

Mr. Tafoya said about 90 percent of the streams that supply the Colorado River run only after rainfall or snowmelt. Under the new Trump water rule, many of those streams will not qualify for federal pollution protection. But Mr. Tafoya said pollutants such as chemical pesticides that end up in those dry stream beds could nonetheless be swept into larger bodies of water when the streams begin running after the spring thaw of mountain snow.

“The toxics or poisons that lie dormant will still be there when the streams are reactivated,” he said. “They will still get into the larger bodies of water.”



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President Trump at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention in Austin, Tex., on Sunday.   Credit... T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

The Obama rule protected about 60 percent of the nation’s waterways, including large bodies of water such as the Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River and Puget Sound, and smaller headwaters, wetlands, seasonal streams and streams that run temporarily underground. It limited the discharge of pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides and industrial chemicals into those waters.

The new rule, written by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, will retain federal protections of large bodies of water, as well as larger rivers and streams that flow into them and wetlands that lie adjacent to them. But it removes protections for many other waters, including wetlands that are not adjacent to large bodies of water, some seasonal streams that flow for only a portion of the year, “ephemeral” streams that only flow after rainstorms, and water that temporarily flows through underground passages.

Legal experts say that Mr. Trump’s replacement rule would go further than simply repealing and replacing the 2015 Obama rule — it would also eliminate protections to smaller headwaters that have been implemented for decades under the 1972 Clean Water Act.

“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.

Ean Thomas Tafoya, a Colorado-based clean water activist with the group GreenLatinos, said the new rule could harm the quality of the water in the Colorado River, which supplies water to 17 western states.

“We are a headwater state,” he said. “This rollback will affect almost every single stream that flows into the Colorado River.”

Mr. Tafoya said about 90 percent of the streams that supply the Colorado River run only after rainfall or snowmelt. Under the new Trump water rule, many of those streams will not qualify for federal pollution protection. But Mr. Tafoya said pollutants such as chemical pesticides that end up in those dry stream beds could nonetheless be swept into larger bodies of water when the streams begin running after the spring thaw of mountain snow.

“The toxics or poisons that lie dormant will still be there when the streams are reactivated,” he said. “They will still get into the larger bodies of water.”

Government scientists, even those appointed by the Trump administration, say those concerns are justified. The E.P.A.’s Scientific Advisory Board, a panel of 41 scientists responsible for evaluating the scientific integrity of the agency’s regulations, concluded that the new Trump water rule ignores science by “failing to acknowledge watershed systems.” They found “no scientific justification” for excluding certain bodies of water from protection under the new regulations, concluding that pollutants from those smaller and seasonal bodies of water can still have a significant impact on the health of larger water systems.

Those scientific findings, although they are not reflected in the administration’s policy, could still play a role in the fate of the new rule. Several state attorneys general are expected to join with environmental groups to sue to overturn the Trump water rule, and those groups are likely to cite those findings as evidence that the rule is not legally sound.

“The legal standing all has to do with whether you have a rational basis for what you’re doing,” said Mr. Parenteau. “And when you have experts saying you’re not adhering to the science, that’s not rational, it’s arbitrary.”


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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

I thought the "cleanest water" was the president's thing? 

Doesnt seem that way from this story and this action. 

 
 
 
lady in black
2  lady in black    one month ago

Another bone head move by Crooked donnie, but his supporters will defend this too

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  lady in black @2    one month ago

Trump wants to get "his" farmers back in line. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago
“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.

Hopefully this will galvanize the people who want to protect the climate and the environment even more against him than they already are. Every vote counts. 

 
 
 
Ender
4  Ender    one month ago

The corporate donald doing the bidding of corporations.

And to think some idiots think he is looking out for their best interest.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5  Perrie Halpern R.A.    one month ago

OK, this is the kind of thing that gets my panties in a wad when I read this. Just last night Trump was saying not to be so glum about our planet's future and today he is chipping away at the very thing that gives this planet life, our water. And why? The oh holy dollar for specific industries who will benefit. 

You don't want to believe in global warming. Fine. But polluted water is a no brainer and here we are AGAIN, chopping away at our clean water. 

Please don't tell me not to feel so glum, Mr. President. Apparently you don't seem to understand the simplest things in science. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5    one month ago
Apparently you don't seem to understand the simplest things in science. 

I think you hit on a big part of it. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
6  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

Trump rolls back US water pollution controls

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51225604

_110623320_gettyimages-1195193976-1.jpg Image copyright   JIM WATSON/Getty Images Image caption   President Trump has rolled back swaths of environmental protections put in place by Barack Obama
=======================================================

The Trump administration is set to scrap protections for America's streams and wetlands, repealing Barack Obama's Waters of the United States regulation.

The move, expected Thursday, will dismantle federal protections for more than half of wetlands and hundreds of small waterways in the US.

The White House says the change will be a victory for American farmers.

But critics say the change will be destructive - part of Mr Trump's wider assault on environmental protections.

Under the new regulations, landowners and property developers will be able to pour pesticides, fertilizers and other pollutants directly into millions of miles of the nation's waterways for the first time in decades.

The administration's new rules, expected to be finalised today, replace the Waters of the United States regulations put in place during the Obama administration. Mr Trump vowed as soon as he took office to repeal the regulations.

The president has angered environmental activists and conservationists since he took office by siding with the agriculture and mining industries in rolling back environmental protections. Speaking at the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual convention in Texas on Sunday, the president called the existing waterways rules "disastrous".

"That was a rule that basically took your property away from you," he told the assembled farmers.

The White House says that farmers will be a primary beneficiary of the change. Farmers rejected the protections, claiming they were too broad and required the industry to go to great lengths to protect small bodies of water on their properties.

But the administration's own data shows that real estate developers and those in other non-farming industries are poised reap the greatest rewards was the president's rollback, by applying for permits to encroach on previously protected waterways, the Associated Press reported.

The new rules are already facing court challenges from environmental groups and Democratic-led states. "This will be the biggest loss of clean water protection the country has ever seen," Blan Holman, a federal water policy specialist at the Southern Environmental Law Center, told the New York Times.

"This puts drinking water for millions of Americans at risk of contamination from unregulated pollution. This is not just undoing the Obama rule. This is stripping away protections that were put in place in the '70s and '80s that Americans have relied on for their health," he said.
 
 
 
JohnRussell
7  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

WASHINGTON — Defying environmentalists and public health advocates, the Trump administration on Thursday will announce the replacement of Obama-era water protections with a significantly weaker set of regulations that lifts limits on how much pollution can be dumped into small streams and wetlands.

The changes to the Clean Water Act’s protections are expected to hit California and other Western states especially hard.

Federal data suggest 81% of streams in the Southwest would lose long-held protections, including tributaries to major waterways that millions of people rely on for drinking water.

Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected to announce the new rules in Las Vegas at a conference of the National Association of Home Builders — one of the industry groups that pushed for loosening clean water rules.

Under the new rule, polluters will no longer need a permit to release contaminated water into so-called ephemeral streams — sometimes called washes or arroyos — where water flows only occasionally because of rainstorms and snowmelt. Wetlands that aren’t immediately adjacent to protected waters will also lose protection.

Both of these features are common in Western states, and scientists say they are likely to become more so as warming temperatures make a dry climate drier.

Clean water regulations are “essentially about how you provide drinking water. How you store flood waters. How you protect ecosystems that thrive in certain areas that we all need and want,” said Gina McCarthy, president of the nonpartisan Natural Resources Defense Council and a former EPA administrator under President Obama, in an interview shortly before the rule’s unveiling. “This is a big deal issue, and I don’t think it was thoroughly looked at as it should have.”

In a rebuke to the Trump administration, the EPA’s own advisory board criticized the agency’s plans.

“These changes are proposed without a fully supportable scientific basis, while potentially introducing substantial new risks to human and environmental health,” the board wrote in its commentary.

In California, two out of three of the state’s freshwater streams could lose federal protection.

Yet the state is better positioned than others to weather the changes. Waters that lose protection under the Trump rule will still be covered under California law. And state regulators have strengthened protections for wetlands and streams in anticipation of the federal rollback.

Most states don’t have nearly enough money or environmental expertise to fill the void created by vastly scaled-down federal regulations.

In New Mexico, environmental regulators estimate that the new rule could leave 96% of the state’s waterways and wetlands unprotected from pollution, including waters that flow into the iconic Rio Grande. The state does not have its own regulations to replace those lost in the rollback, making it particularly vulnerable.

 
 
 
Ronin2
8  Ronin2    one month ago

Maybe "Mr I have a cell phone and pen" Obama should have gone to Congress and actually worked with them to pass a law. Instead of relying on EOs and EAs that can be undone by any administration that follows.

It is laughable that anyone is upset with Obama's executive overreaches being repealed. If the Democrats are really that upset they can work on a bill in the House. Of course they will have to negotiate with the Republicans in the Senate and Trump to get something that will pass, and be signed into law.

Oh wait, they are too busy with impeachment to be bothered with actually governing. And working with the Senate Republicans, and especially Trump, is a non starter for them. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
8.1  Tessylo  replied to  Ronin2 @8    one month ago

You  keep posting that everywhere regarding EOs/EAs

WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH IT?

 
 
 
Ronin2
8.1.1  Ronin2  replied to  Tessylo @8.1    one month ago

If you have to ask; then you still obviously don't understand.

EO's/EA's are not laws. You think Trump is overboard with abuse of executive power? Well he had nothing on Obama. Getting pissed at Trump for overturning Obama's abuse of power is asinine.

You want to make it binding from one administration to the next- get Congress to pass a law. But that would take compromise between the House, Senate, and White House; which will never happen- especially with impeachment now sucking up time 24/7.

Oh, and the Federal Courts weren't to fond of Obama's rule either.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/federal-court-deals-decisive-blow-to-obama-water-rule

The U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas issued the strongly worded ruling late Tuesday, stating that the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law in issuing the landmark regulation governing waterways.

"The court finds that the final rule violated the notice-and-comment requirements of the [Administrative Procedure Act] and therefore grants summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on this ground," the court ruled, siding with the American Farm Bureau Federation in opposing the rule.

The court said that EPA did not allow for appropriate notice for public comment on changes it made to the final regulations. Tuesday's ruling orders the EPA to open a new public comment period on reports and analyses used in developing the final 2015 regulation, which will help the ongoing efforts by the Trump EPA to repeal it.

The Waters of the U.S. rule, sometimes referred to by critics as the "puddle rule," extended EPA's Clean Water Act authority to include drainage ditches and watering holes by broadening the definition of a "waterway." States, ranchers, farmers, and other interests have opposed the rule in courts for nearly four years. They argue the EPA overreached in its federal authority to enforce the Clean Water Act.

The Texas court ruled on a much narrower set of issues. But it will go a long way in helping the Trump repeal process, say opponents of the rule.

"This critical federal court decision is a major victory for the people of Texas' ability to regulate their own natural resources, including ponds, puddles and streams on private property, and a major win for property owners, whose land would have been subject to unlawful and impractical EPA regulations," said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in responding to the decision on Wednesday.

 
 
 
Tessylo
8.1.2  Tessylo  replied to  Ronin2 @8.1.1    one month ago

I don't have to ask, it's all nonsense.  

 
 
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