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Trump’s rollback of US water protections nears completion

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FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, file photo, an egret looks for food along Valhalla Pond in Riverview, Fla. The Trump administration was expected to announce completion as soon as Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, of one of its most momentous environmental rollbacks, removing federal protections for millions of miles of the country’s streams, arroyos and wetlands. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration was expected to announce completion as soon as Thursday of one of its most momentous environmental rollbacks, removing federal protections for millions of miles of the country’s streams, arroyos and wetlands.

The changes, launched by President Donald Trump when he took office, sharply scale back the government’s interpretation of which waterways qualify for protection against pollution and development under the half-century-old Clean Water Act.

A draft version of the rule released earlier would end federal oversight for up to half of the nation’s wetlands and one-fifth of the country’s streams, environmental groups warned. That includes some waterways that have been federally protected for decades under the Clean Water Act.

Trump has portrayed farmers — a highly valued constituency of the Republican Party and one popular with the public — as the main beneficiaries of the rollback. He has claimed farmers gathered around him wept with gratitude when he signed an order for the rollback in February 2017.

The administration says the changes will allow farmers to plow their fields without fear of unintentionally straying over the banks of a federally protected dry creek, bog or ditch.

However, the government’s own figures show it is real estate developers and those in other nonfarm business sectors who take out the most permits for impinging on wetlands and waterways — and stand to reap the biggest regulatory and financial relief.

Environmental groups and many former environmental regulators say the change will allow industry and developers to dump more contaminants in waterways or simply fill them in, damaging habitat for wildlife and making it more difficult and expensive for downstream communities to treat drinking water to make it safe.

“This administration’s eliminating clean water protections to protect polluters instead of protecting people,” said Blan Holman, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The Trump administration has targeted a range of environmental protections for rollbacks. Trump says his aim is to ease regulatory burdens on businesses.

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1 Comment

  1. Non-fascist

    January 23, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Oh thank god, this is exactly the kinda thing the stupid libtards are scared to do. Bravo, rethuglicans!! Thanks for being smart enough to know that ‘clean water’ isn’t in the public interest. And the mega-$ donations from all ur corporate friends are just a bonus to you brave soldiers for yet another job well-done. I just hope they can get back to the business of the people…I hear there are still some lame dummy-crat laws prohibiting lead & arsenic in baby food that they need to tackle next.
    America is almost great again…we just need 5more yrs of repub control, and the help of all the republicans’ friends. Weird thing about it though, is apparently all the Best ppl to help us make a strong&great country built on true American ideals-at least on the GOP side, all seem to be named Boris, Ivan, Sergei, dimitri, Anatoly, etc…I’m sure they all have our best interests at heart though, right? I mean, it’s not like trump has some illegal, treasonous debt to Putin either from doing illegal int’l business in violation of Fed Gov’t sanctions, OR as a result of blackmail and info putin has on the orange toddler menace or anything, that’s just silly…but it’s weird how it seems to be entirely plausible. If not PROBABLE. Dude is a bloated, mentally& emotionally stunted, 280lb toddler, and is systematically dismantling our treasured democracy. All bc his hero Vlad told him to. I sure hope he strokes out in a bucket of chicken, SOON. I fear it may alrdy be too late.

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