Nearly 45 years after the Clean Water Act was passed, many of our nation’s rivers, streams, lakes and bays are still not safe for swimming or fishing.
Over the last few years in North Carolina, we have been fighting legislative proposals to roll back or eliminate regulations that protect our water resources, generally packaged as benign “regulatory reform” bills.
Fortunately during this period of attacks against clean water we have had the comfort of knowing that if things got too bad, there was federal backstop in the form of the Clean Water Act. Now, under actions already taken by the Trump administration and Congress, it is clear the intent is to shred federal regulations protecting our water and enrich polluters at the expense of the public.
Last week, President Trump signed away safeguards to protect streams from coal-mining waste, allowing mining companies to push the top of mountains into streams once again. This week Trump also signed the “Dirty Water Order,” gutting protections for wetlands and the drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans.
We need to be doing more, not less, to rein in dangerous polluting industries like industrial scale swine and poultry feeding operations, oil and gas operations and mining. These polluters should not externalize the cost of production onto the public, causing real, direct harm to public health and the environment, simply to increase already huge profits.
Yet that is exactly what the Trump administration and Congress are doing.
It’s clear the last thing Trump cares about is “crystal, clear water.” We need a president, Congress, state and local officials who will protect people, not polluters.
Upper Neuse Riverkeeper
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the issue.