The Trump/Wheeler Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is dismantling critical parts of the Clean Water Act one by one. Cumulatively these are the most serious threat to our nation’s bedrock environmental law in its history. If even one of these administration proposals is finalized, the consequences would be dire. Taken together, the Clean Water Act as we know it could go away. Since the Trump administration is parceling out these assaults, it can be hard to see the full picture.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a plan that summarizes ongoing activity, affirms commitments the agency made in May 2018, and announces several new initiatives. The “PFAS Action Plan” is an exhaustive review of what EPA is doing and commits to some new initiatives.
Given the urgency around PFAS chemicals it is still literally the least EPA can do.
Yesterday I received what might be the most fantastical press release the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Public Engagement has released in a while. It said that EPA is advancing President Trump’s Infrastructure Agenda through investments in water infrastructure, which is interesting because there hasn’t been any news about a new infrastructure agenda or any new financing programs for water projects.
Today’s business –as-usual announcement is jarring given the federal government budget impasse and partial shutdown. “Partial” hardly applies to the current situation as it pertains to EPA. Nearly 95% of EPA staff in the Washington, D.C. area and around the country are considered “non-essential” and are not working
Forty-two years ago today, on October 18, 1972, the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Water Act. Clean Water Action was founded that same year to help push for final passage of the law and to work for ongoing clean water protections.
Imagine living near an industrial facility with aboveground storage tanks and not knowing what is in those tanks. What if hazardous chemicals were stored in those tanks and that leaks or spills could contaminate a lake where you fish or swim, or a river that is also your drinking water source. Wouldn’t you want to know that water in your community is protected?
They call it the Magna Carta of environmental laws; the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the foundation for landmark health and environmental protections like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. NEPA is what gives any person or community group a voice on projects that can impact our health and well-being. It's what requires governments and developers to slow down and consider public concerns.
The Trump administration’s “Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America” is the farthest thing from putting drinking water first. Case in point – rolling back one of the fundamental parts of the Clean Water Act that drove the statutory vision of “zero discharge” of pollutants into our nation’s waters.