In his Joint Address to Congress on Tuesday, President Trump touted he will “promote clean air and clean water.” His remarks came only hours after signing an Executive Order directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to “reconsider” their 2015 Clean Water Rule that strengthened clean water protections.
It’s no secret that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is no fan of the Clean Water Rule (or any EPA regulation for that matter), commonsense safeguards to protect small streams and wetlands from polluters, including drinking water sources.
Some members of Congress and their polluter friends are determined to pile on dozens of anti-environmental policy riders to the fiscal year 2016 spending bill. Congress must pass a new spending bill or agree on another extension by December 11th to avoid a government shutdown. Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House have been calling for a clean spending bill, but many Republicans are trying to use this opportunity to undermine virtually every single policy priority of the Obama administration – from the Affordable Care Act to the Clean Power Plan to the Clean Water Rule.
Spending bills should be about dollars and cents, not about pushing ideological riders.stre
This month marked 43 years since the landmark Clean Water Act became law. Yet, while many of our nation’s rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and bays are cleaner because of it, we still face water pollution challenges. Not because of lack of technology or innovation, but because of powerful polluting industries that have the ear of politicians – big oil, big ag, and big developers (just to name a few). Because of this constant political pressure to weaken critical protections for our water resources, paired with limited and often dwindling state and federal resources, enforcement of the Clean Water Act is largely driven by everyday people concerned about their communities.
For years Clean Water Action and our allies have been fighting to rein in the largest toxic water polluter in the U.S. – coal-burning power plants. It’s no secret that coal-burning power plants pollute our air with unhealthy chemicals. What is not as well known is these plants have also been dumping arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium and other nasty pollutants directly into our lakes, rivers, streams, and bays for decades – far more than any other polluting industry. At the end of September, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) finally closed this longstanding polluter loophole in our nation’s Clean Water Act.