Trump’s environmental rollbacks now hit our water supply

By Victoria Gill

Opinion Editor

Trump’s rollbacks on pesticides and their effect to pollinators have led to his announcing a repeal to an Obama-era regulation for clean water.

Often times when heated current events occur there is awareness, but not paired with lots of action. Is this what the plan is now that Trump threatens our water?

According to the New York Times, back in Dec. 2018, Trump was chipping away at safeguards to protect wetlands implemented by President George H.W. Bush.

The Obama policy addressed farmers near streams and wetlands, and restricted certain techniques of plowing and planting certain crops. The Environmental Protection Agency usually requests a permit for these farmers to use certain pesticides and fertilizers if there is a possibility of runoff in the area.

Now that this protection has been lifted, what has been dropped into the waterways is surely known.

According to the Southern Environmental Law Center, wetlands are key to filtering surface water and protecting lands against floods, while providing a habitat for wildlife.

The environmental rollback list is lengthy, and for the past two years the administration has put efforts toward weakening the protection over them.

According to the official EPA website, the 1972 Clean Water Act passed by the Supreme court “gave EPA the authority to implement pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry.”

The more rollbacks that Trump implements for the country, the less purpose the EPA has for being around. They are a last defense for protecting our right to a sustainable and environmentally healthy life.

At the same time, this would save farmers less time and money towards determining if federal permits are required and more time for infrastructure building.

According to a professor of environmental law at the Vermont Law School, Patrick Parenteau, this act has been burdensome for farmers and industry.

According to the American Scientist Organization, “The world’s coastal ecosystems are under stress.”

This cost is not light.

This is due to multiple cases of sewage, fertilizers, and other chemicals from household life, agriculture, and industry.

According to the ASO, “by cutting down trees, paving roads and parking lots, and developing in wetlands, nutrients are less likely to be taken up by plant roots and soil microbes or filtered through groundwater before reaching rivers and sea.”

Specifically, some lands have an estimated 1.6 million metric tons of nutrient fertilizer that enters the Gulf annually from the Mississippi Basin. These are mainly nitrogen and phosphorous based, and this will increase as time goes on.

Even now, most city drinking water is unsafe. According to the Obama-era Clean Water Rule, this was designated to limit pollution by sixty percent of the nation’s bodies of water.

This is a call to action. Go out and talk about the state of the environment is in for your home. The grim inevitable for clean drinking water and safe soil is waiting for Trump’s call.

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