The Trump administration plans to roll back safeguards on many US streams, wetlands and water bodies. This assault on clean water comes in the form of a proposal to narrow the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), thus removing numerous waters from protection under the Clean Water Act. Documents FOIAed by E&E News journalists revealed that scientists at the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, who oversee and regulate water, expect that 18 percent of streams and 51 percent of wetlands nationwide would not be protected. This increases the risk for more water pollution even as the administration seeks to cut laws and standards to give polluters a freer hand.
Waterkeeper reminds us of the bad old days of the early 1970s when waters all around the United States were polluted and harmful to human and ecological health. People got sick because of contaminated water, rivers caught fire and wildlife was devastated. Americans couldn’t tolerate it anymore and pushed Congress to pass the Clean Water Act in 1972. This law was a huge boon to restoring good water quality by tightening standards. The law was a defense against pollution and led to improved drinking water, healthier habitat for aquatic species and other wildlife, better recreational opportunities, and more.
President Trump’s EPA is holding a single hearing on the proposed WOTUS determination, which, if finalized, would allow more untreated pollution to enter waters without meeting permitting and treatment standards of the Clean Water Act.
The hearing on the Trump administration’s proposed WOTUS definition can be heard as an EPA webinar and takes place in Kansas City on January, 23 2019.