Disgruntled with state decisions to delay or block his beloved oil and gas pipelines, President Trump is attempting to gut states’ most important power to control projects which can damage clean water resources. Last week, Trump signed two executive orders intended to restrict state authority over the environmental impacts of oil and gas pipelines.
Even worse, Congressional Republicans who support new limits on state pollution control authority are seeking changes to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). They want to drastically curtail use of the act’s Section 401, which gives states the authority to review and either limit or deny projects which they deem harmful to their waters. Removing this authority would gut much of states’ power to protect clean water beyond often weak federal minimum requirements.
National environmental advocates reacted sharply to the proposed changes. The national League of Conservation Voters’ (LCV) legislative representative Madeleine Foote said, “Trump’s Executive Orders again confirm his reckless commitment to putting the profits of polluters over our environment, the safety of our communities, and the health of our families. The oil and gas industry has tried for years to undermine the safeguards established in the Clean Water Act, and they have found shameless cronies in this administration and their allies in Congress to do their bidding. From the Dirty Water Rule to rolling back protections against toxic pollutants from power plants, this is now the next step in the Trump administration’s all-out assault on our clean water. The public is demanding we do more, not less, to protect clean water for all communities, and we will work with stakeholders across the country, including many Governors, to stop these disastrous proposals.”
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