Groups: The Trump administration is putting America’s water resources more at risk than they have been in a generation

May 25, 2017 Contacts: Michael Kelly, Clean Water Action: 202-393-5449, mkelly@cleanwater.org Amy Kober, American Rivers:  503-708-1145, akober@americanrivers.org Rob Friedlander, Earthjustice:  202-797-5249, rfriedlander@earthjustice.org John Rumpler, Environment America:  617 747-4306, jrumpler@environmentamerica.org Milly Hawk Daniel, PolicyLink: 212-502-6492, mdaniel@policylink.org Trey Pollard, Sierra Club: 202- 495-3058, trey.pollard@sierraclub.org Washington, DC – Just before the second anniversary of the Obama administration’s most significant water pollution control initiative – the adoption of the Clean Water Rule – the Trump administration’s assault on public safeguards put America’s water resources more at risk than they have been in well over a generation, according to environmental, conservation, equity-focused, and community organizations. The groups marked the anniversary of the Clean Water Rule and contrasted that achievement with the Trump Administration’s planned rollback of vital protections for water and health and its proposed budget cuts to important clean water programs. They noted that the Trump administration is wildly out of step with the public, pointing out that recent polls show that concern about drinking water is as high as it has ever been and the Americans want environmental protection to be prioritized. “When it comes to the environment, everything President Trump has done in his first four months in office has been focused on one thing – putting polluters’ interests before public health and clean water. Repealing the Clean Water Rule and the cuts in the budget are part of this assault, said Bob Wendelgass, President and CEO of Clean Water Action. “We don’t get clean water by gutting protections for streams and wetlands. We can’t support small businesses by putting the infrastructure they rely on at risk of destruction. We won’t protect public health...

What They are Saying About the President’s “Fat” Budget Proposal

Wherein Environmental, Conservation, and Community Groups comment on President Trumps FY 2018 Budget Proposal Clean Water Action Irresponsible and Destructive Washington, DC – Today the White House released President Trump’s full budget proposal for FY 2018. The full budget proposal is similar to the outline released in March. This proposal reduces the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31.4%, which will severely hamper the agency’s ability to protect clean water and public health or enforce landmark laws like the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. Members of Congress declared the budget outline in March “dead on arrival” and condemned the draconian cuts to programs that help states and cities clean up vital estuaries like Chesapeake Bay, waters like the Great Lakes, and more. Clean Water Action President Bob Wendelgass released the following statement in response. “After near universal condemnation of the reckless ‘skinny’ budget outline in March, the President doubled down on a terrible and mean budget that eviscerates the safety net and guts the programs we rely on to protect clean water and public health. Despite all his talk about improving infrastructure, the budget undermines drinking water programs by slashing programs that protect source water and gutting funding for pollution control and enforcement activities. The only people who benefit from this proposal are the wealthy, whose taxes will be lowered on the backs of the poor and sick, and corporate polluters who will be able to act with impunity, putting profits before public health and clean water.” “The only responsible thing for Congress to do is reject this budget. But that doesn’t get them off the hook. Congress can’t...

Letter to Administrator Pruitt, RE: the Clean Water Rule

Dear Administrator Pruitt: On behalf of our millions of supporters, we write to provide our perspective on your avowed intention to eliminate the important federal safeguards included in the 2015 Clean Water Rule — a process initiated when President Trump signed Executive Order 13,778 on February 28. We seek your commitment to carry out any such rulemaking in a way that is at least as deliberate, inclusive, and protective of vital waterways as the Clean Water Rule process was and that is based in sound science. In contrast to the extensive and inclusive process that led to the Clean Water Rule, the administration reportedly plans a hasty rulemaking without meaningful public participation. We are dismayed by reports that the agency intends to provide very little time for stakeholder engagement before proposing to undermine the Clean Water Rule’s protections and for official public comment on the proposal. And we especially fear the damage that a final rule would inflict on the nation’s waterways if, as Executive Order 13,778 forecasts, it relies on a legal test that a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court rejected and that would weaken the federal rules so that they protect fewer resources than they have in several decades. Read the rest of the...

Proposed Budget Would Increase Water Pollution

By Jon Devine, Senior Attorney, Water Program, NRDC Originally published here President Trump announced his proposed budget on Thursday. If it were to be adopted by Congress, it would threaten public health and our natural resources enormously. Although this budget is so radical that it has no chance of enactment, it still bears close examination for a couple reasons. First, it provides a window into the values that the Trump administration holds (or, based on this document, lacks). Second, we need to be on guard for attempts to cast the president’s budget as the starting point for discussing the ultimate funding levels, such that Congress seems reasonable by providing more funding than the president would for environmental programs, but cutting them below already-insufficient current levels. This post examines President Trump’s budget with respect to water programs. I’m sorry to report that it is an unmitigated disaster. It’s no exaggeration to say the administration has declared war on clean water, when one looks at this budget combined with the administration’s rollback of water rules protecting communities from coal mining and its initiation of a scheme to weaken safeguards for a variety of critical water bodies, including streams that feed the drinking water supplies of one in three Americans. Water Infrastructure Funding: Not What Administration Wants You to Think Let’s start with the least bad news, as the Trump administration has touted the budget’s alleged “robust funding for critical drinking and wastewater infrastructure.” It is true that the levels that this proposal suggests for EPA’s clean water and safe drinking water infrastructure funds are roughly the same as in recent years.But...

What They are Saying: Environmental, Conservation, and Public Health Groups on President Trump’s Budget Outline

Clean Water Action on the President’s Billionaires Budget Washington, DC – Today President Trump released the details of his budget outline. Clean Water Action President and CEO Bob Wendelgass released the following statement. “This is a reckless and dangerous budget. It’s also completely unsurprising. President Trump has made his priorities perfectly clear – he will put polluters first at all costs. The massive cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget would devastate protections for drinking water and public health. It not only undermines EPA’s ability to carry out our laws, but any reduction in EPA’s financial support to the states would have a huge impact on states’ ability to safeguard our families and stop pollution. ” “It’s fitting this travesty was released on the first day of March Madness  – it is the opposite of everything  Americans want. Poll after poll shows that Americans expect their elected officials to do more, not less to protect clean water and clean air.” “This budget is so outrageous that even Republicans in Congress are skeptical. These are the same Republicans who have been strangling EPA’s budget for years. While we are likely to see a big cuts to EPA, because Republicans are committed to putting corporate profits before public health, the President’s proposal most likely doesn’t have a chance in Congress.” ___________________________________________ President’s Budget Puts Clean Water and Rivers at Risk Nationwide (American Rivers) Washington — President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to clean drinking water and river restoration efforts would cause serious harm to the nation’s health, economy, and quality of life, American Rivers said today. The President’s budget proposal includes deep...

President Trump Attacks Clean Water

By Jon Devine, Senior Attorney, Water Program, NRDC This was originally published here Today, President Trump signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to begin repealing the Clean Water Rule, a landmark measure many years in the making. Likewise, new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently told Fox News that he plans to go “full speed ahead” to attack the rule. The President’s order and Administrator Pruitt’s happy obedience insult all Americans―especially the 117 million of us who get drinking water drawn from streams the rule would help protect from pollution. Axios political reporter Jonathan Swan obtained and tweeted an image of the order as it is expected to read, which I’ve posted below. EO attacking Clean Water Rule — from Jonathan Swan We rely on clean water for drinking, to irrigate crops, for swimming and fishing, and as habitat for wildlife. Wetlands and other waters reduce flooding and filter pollution. Since 1972, the Clean Water Act, one of our earliest and most important environmental laws, has helped restore and protect our Nation’s waters. The rule aimed to ensure that water bodies that perform these essential functions warrant protection from pollution and destruction under the Clean Water Act. Although the Trump administration has targeted the Clean Water Rule for repeal, today’s action does not kill it. Repealing a rule requires a full public process. It has to be justified by the law and the evidence available. That’s going to be rough sledding for the new administration, because the rule relies on an extensive scientific record and its protections are easily consistent with...