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EPA Seeks Ideas to Gut Clean Water Rules, But Citizens Speak Up for Public Health

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting ideas for easing "burdensome" water regulations – Trump administration doublespeak for gutting rules that protect drinking water from toxic chemicals, animal waste and other contaminants. So far more than 32,000 Americans have submitted online comments, but many aren’t sending EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt the feedback he bargained for.  

Thousands of comments came from folks who want existing rules on clean water and other environmental protections kept intact or strengthened. Here's a selection of the views of anonymous Americans who – in no uncertain terms – resist Trump and Pruitt’s agenda to give polluters a free hand:

  • I am extremely fond of breathing clean air and drinking clean water, I would like these things to be available to my children and grandchildren. Please keep the regulations in place that help protect our air and water. Short term profits for corporations do not outweigh the long term benefit of a healthy environment.
  • As one of a majority of Americans I do not support any weakening of regulations that insure that we have clean water, clean air and healthy soil. I support the clean power regulations to reduce air pollution from coal plants. Those regulations will save many lives  ... Do not weaken the ability of the EPA to protect our clean water, soil and air.
  • Please work to keep our water, air, and land clean and safe for all people. Regulations that protect the water we drink, the air we breathe, the land where our food is grown, where our children play, the open spaces that people and animals need and enjoy should not be removed. This means that existing regulations on mining, industry, farming and other activities that require safe practices and healthy outcomes are also essential. Keep America clean and healthy for all.
  • The current administration has made it clear that their intent is to jeopardize the health of the planet in order to enrich the pockets of the fossil fuel industry ... The blatant disregard for the quality of our country's air and water is disheartening and will not be forgotten in upcoming election cycles. It is clear that Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt want to shape the EPA to be the next Tobacco Institute. How these people sleep at night is beyond me.

A nationwide survey conducted by Gallup last month found that 63 percent of Americans “worried a great deal about pollution of drinking water” – the most in 17 years. But it's really no surprise that under Trump and Pruitt the EPA is more interested in listening to polluters than the American people.

An EWG investigation earlier this year found that as Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt took sizable campaign contributions from interests tied to water polluters. After receiving $40,000 for his unopposed 2014 campaign from donors connected to industrial-scale chicken farms, Pruitt halted state litigation against the poultry industry’s pollution of the Illinois River watershed with chicken manure. For Trump's part, despite promising “crystal clear, clean drinking water,” one of his first executive orders abolished the Clean Water Rule, putting the drinking water sources of roughly 117 million Americans at risk from industrial and agricultural pollution.

In addition to taking online input, next week the EPA is holding a so-called listening session on water regulations by telephone and web conferencing. But the agency isn't exactly making it easy for the public to take part.

People who want to give input must pre-register for what EPA says are randomly selected spots on one of 150 phone lines set aside to call in. About half of them will get a chance to speak for one to two minutes each. You can also pre-register to be one of 1,000 people allowed to listen in online. You have until May 15 to submit written comments here


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