Donald Trump’s EPA Goes After Barack Obama’s Water Protections
One of Donald Trump’s key aims when taking over the presidency, was to roll back Barack Obama’s legacy. The Affordable Care Act was the initial target, but Trump has also worked to undermine Obama’s environmental policies.
Today, the White House announced they will be reducing protections on small waterways. This reduction will allow developers and energy companies to operate more freely.
Andrew Wheeler, the head of the EPA, says, “Our proposal would replace the 2015 definition with one that restores the rule of law and the primary role of states in managing their land and water resources. It would end years of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends.”
Wheeler, who took office in July of this year, has consistently been criticized for views on climate change. He has also worked as a lobbyist for the coal industry.
The EPA chief continued, “Our new, more precise definition means that hard-working Americans will spend less time and money determining whether they need a federal permit and more time upgrading aging infrastructure, building homes, creating jobs and growing crops to feed our families.”
The move was met with immediate condemnation from environmental groups. While some states may have protections in place for their waterways, many depend on the federal government.
Jon Devine, director of the NRDC, stated, “The Trump administration will stop at nothing to reward polluting industries and endanger our most treasured resources. Given the problems facing our lakes, streams and wetlands from the beaches of Florida to the drinking water of Toledo, now is the time to strengthen protections for our waterways, not weaken them.”
While the new regulations are not yet in place, it will be difficult for environmentalists to stop them. The EPA noted that it would like to have the new rules in place by the end of 2019.