Trump Guts Clean-Water Act, Allowing For More Pollution In Drinking Water

Darren.Woon

Trump plans to further scale back the Water Supply Act in order to secure the farm vote in this year's election.

President Trump plans to further scale back another Obama-era water policy in order to secure the farm vote in this year’s presidential election, according to The Hill

Speaking at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Austin-Texas, Trump said he would be withdrawing a water supply rule proposed towards the end of the Obama administration. 

“I am proud to announce that I am taking another step to protect the water rights of American farmers and ranchers,” Trump said. 

“I am directing the Corps of Engineers to immediately withdraw the proposed rule...and allow states to manage their water resources based on their own needs and based on what their farmers and ranchers want,” he continued, referencing 2016 additions to the Water Supply Act.

“Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and we will always protect your water supply,” he concluded.

The White House is expected to replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which expanded the types of waterways protected by federal law. Farmers and other groups have argued that the law is too far-reaching, in that grand efforts are required to protect small bodies of water that run through their property, subjecting large areas of land to federal oversight. 

Trump aims to secure the farm vote by rolling back the Water Supply Act. He views them as a key part of his base but has jeopardized their confidence by waging trade wars that has hurt many farmers. 

Criticism from other groups add to Democratic arguments that Trump’s policies have further hurt air and water quality while contributing to climate change. 

The EPA’s independent Science Advisory Board reviewed Trump’s WOTUS proposal earlier this year and wrote that “aspects of the proposed rule are in conflict with established science...and the objectives of the Clean Water Act.”

“There is no question that President Trump is making millions of Americans vulnerable to polluted water with this action. This rollback was bought and paid for by the mining industry, and it will have significant consequences for states, who will shoulder a huge burden to protect drinking water from pollution,” Ryan Richards, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, said in a statement addressing WOTUS. 

Environmentalists and attorneys general have argued that the rollbacks effectively gut the Clean Water Act as pollution from farming, manufacturing, and energy production will leach into water with less supervision. 

“Attorneys general across this nation will not stand by as the Trump administration seeks to reverse decades of progress we’ve made in fighting water pollution,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said.

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