(This great piece contributed by Kathy Bremer.)
“After Republicans took control of the both the House and Senate, President Barack Obama resorted to executive orders to advance several issues, including water quality and the regulation of greenhouse gasses contributing to climate change. Those orders only stay on the books as long as the current executive obliges and President Donald Trump has repealed or vowed to repeal several.”
This was not the ideal approach, but with polluter-supporters and climate change deniers populating Congress, choices were limited.
Farmers and ranchers panicked & stopped implementation in the courts, but the ultimate goal is to ensure water quality standards are met. Expansion of the definition of Waters of the United States brought more feeder waterways under the purview of the Clean Water Act. Until this expansion farm runoff could find its way into an unregulated small stream that fed a waterway that was regulated. The goal was to stop pollution at the source rather than chasing it downstream.
Trump is undoing Obama’s good deeds as quickly as he can. The Obama order designed to reduce acid mine runoff has been attacked already. On 2 February 2017, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution to block implementation of an Obama administration coal mining regulation known as the Stream Protection Rule, which took effect on the final day of President Obama’s term in office. The rule aimed at limiting the dumping of the earthen material removed to get to coal seams (material known as “excess spoil”) into streams near surface mining operations.
The ultimate goal appears to be to gut the Clean Water Act of 1972. Definition: The Clean Water Act is a U.S. federal law that regulates the discharge of pollutants into the nation’s surface waters, including lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, and coastal areas. Passed in 1972 and amended in 1977 and 1987, the Clean Water Act was originally known as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.