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Trump the Polluter!

The rollback of the “Waters of the United States” allows disreputable landowners to “dump pollutants” “directly into hundreds of thousands of waterways.”

Jan 28, 2020

President Trump and his administration are regularly portrayed as proponents of environmental destruction.  People should remember there are usually two sides to an argument and when you see the mainstream media making one side out to be angels and the other side devils, there's probably more to the story.  The case of Waters of the United States (WATUS) is one such case.  

The New York Times explains the change made by the Trump Administration "
has implications far beyond the pollution that will now be allowed to flow freely into waterways...The rollback of the “Waters of the United States” allows disreputable landowners to “dump pollutants” “directly into hundreds of thousands of waterways.”  Sounds pretty bad.  But, is it true?

According to an article in Commentary Magazine, "In May 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency unilaterally announced its intention to expand its capacity to regulate navigable waterways and their tributaries. This new rule allowed the agency to block the development of privately owned lands with a “significant nexus” to a waterway, a definition so expansive it included streams that ran only seasonally or underground, bone-dry 100-year floodplains, any parcel within 1,500 feet of a highwater mark, or even topographical features that could “in combination” impact a water source."

They went on to explain, "In practice, a rancher and farmers seeking the permission of the federal government to level a road through private property or even plow and plant crops would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on compliance costs alone."  Arizona rancher Jim Chilton "noted efforts to seek a permit to grade a “small ranch road” through his land took three years and cost him $40,000 dollars, even though the nearest body of water on which anything substantial could float was over 250 miles from his property."

There's quite a legal history to what brought us to this point and it's captured in the attached article, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled there was no “specific scientific support substantiating” this regulation’s rationality.  The article concludes "Opponents of the Trump administration should take stock in how soundly their overreach was rebuffed. To judge from the Times coverage of the administration’s actions, though, that kind of self-reflection is not in the cards."

Cry Me a River

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