In a move environmentalists are warning will seriously endanger drinking water and wildlife nationwide, President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly gearing up to hand yet another gift to big polluters by drastically curtailing the number of waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.
“The rollback will take us backward. And most people don’t remember just how bad that was.”
—Daniel Estrin, Waterkeeper Alliance
“As a result of the change, an estimated 60-90 percent of U.S. waterways could lose federal protections that currently shield them from pollution and development,” The Intercept‘s Sharon Lerner reported on Friday, citing an analysis by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “The new Trump administration rule imposes the most substantial restrictions on the Clean Water Act since its passage in 1972.”
Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said if the new rule—which is expected to be unveiled on Tuesday—takes effect, corporations will be free to “dump as much crap into” rivers and streams as they want.
“For some parts of the country, it’s a complete wiping away of the Clean Water Act,” Hartl concluded.
The Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which the Trump administration has long been aiming to roll back, was designed to limit pollution in most of the nation’s large bodies of water in an effort to protect drinking water from contamination.
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