It seems that the EPA under Donald Trump wants to dump raw sewage into our rivers. The organization is now allowing cities to do just that. In an article by the New York Times, the Trump administration has decided to reverse almost 95 environmental rules in a massive retreat on environmental protection, because “it’s too costly for industry or taxpayers.”
Under the Trump administration, the EPA has stripped clean-water protections from wetlands, streams, and other waterways. Farmers, fossil fuel producers, and real estate developers have complained about Obama’s water protection rules being too strict. Never mind that they’ve worked to provide cleaner water for American citizens. Donald Trump’s lobbyist-filled administration (the swampiest swamp you can imagine) decided to roll back all of those rules and even go further, eliminating protections that have been in place since Nixon.
Paul Calamita, an attorney who represents cities that want to change their agreements, says that “When you walk into the current EPA., as a local government, you’re not treated as evil.” He says that in prior administrations they (the cities he was representing, I assume) were being treated as evil.
The 2015 rule that the EPA reversed once protected more than half of our wetlands and hundreds of thousands of small waterways from pollution. Farmers and property developers will now be able to release pesticides, fertilizers, and other pollutants directly into many of these waterways. They also have the green light to destroy or fill in wetlands for construction projects. The EPA reversing these rules is seen as a “flexible approach toward regulatory and enforcement oversight” by Adam Krantz, of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, which represents water utility companies. Yeah, I guess being allowed to dump raw sewage, pesticides, and other toxic waste into our rivers (which provide drinking water for many cities) and wetlands is “flexible.”
An older photo I took of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge facing Port Allen. pic.twitter.com/ZX1aL8XmgK
— Getting Stoned 💎 (@JohnnaCrider1) January 29, 2020
My own drinking water source is the second most polluted US waterway: the Mississippi River. I live in Baton Rouge. 18 million people depend on this river as a source of clean drinking water. In 2012, it was noted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that more than 12.7 million pounds of toxic chemicals such as nitrates, arsenic, benzene, and mercury were dumped into the Mississippi River in 2010. The report was released by Environment Missouri. The Ohio River tops this with 32 million pounds of this toxic mix.
In a report from The National Academies, the Clean Water Act (one Trump’s many reversals) has reduced much of the pollution in the Mississippi River from water treatment plants and other industries. There are still problems, but now the EPA is turning in the other direction. The EPA is catering to the needs and wants of those who want to be allowed to pollute our rivers instead of doing its job, protecting us and our environment (it’s in the name).
It makes no sense to reverse these rules and allow raw sewage and toxic waste to pollute the waters we swim in, drink from, and fish from.