The Trump regime destruction of the environment continues as the Trump EPA will finalize plans to gut the Clean Water Act and remove 2015 Obama-era protections on streams and creeks this week.
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 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,” he told the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention in Texas on Sunday, to rousing applause.
“That was a rule that basically took your property away from you,” added Mr. Trump, whose real estate holdings include more than a dozen golf courses. (Golf course developers were among the key opponents of the Obama rule and key backers of the new one.)
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.
If you thought for a moment that Trump voting rural farmers were going to break from the GOP after Trump's tariffs squeezed them for billions, this will more than make up for it. Scrapping the Waters of the US rule will give Trump "Big Damn Hero" status out here in the Midwest.
Say goodbye to wetlands and clean drinking water for tens of millions of Americans. Maybe Cleveland's rivers will catch fire again, just to remind us how far we're going backwards.
Or newly polluted rivers will catch fire, more likely. Enjoy, America.