Biden Administration Moves to Reverse Trump Rollbacks of Clean Water Act

Biden Administration Moves to Reverse Trump Rollbacks of Clean Water Act

One more of the Trump administration’s rollbacks will meet its demise as EPA Administrator Michael Regan and the Biden administration are planning to reinstate protections for many marshes, streams, and wetlands — expanding again the coverage of the Clean Water Act under the “Waters of the U.S.” or “WOTUS” rule. 

Why This Matters: Since the late 1700s, 221 million acres of wetlands have been drained in the U.S. for agricultural use. This development has had severe consequences, including fertilizer and pollution runoff threatening drinking water for millions of people.

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California Pollution Mapping Program Could Be a Model for the Nation

California Pollution Mapping Program Could Be a Model for the Nation

California is a leader when it comes to both controlling air pollution and giving the public the power to know where it still exists, Reuters reports.  The California Air Resources Board’s “Pollution Mapping Tool” provides the public with access to emissions data for toxic air pollutants, major chemical air pollution, and greenhouse gases from large industrial facilities.

Why This Matters:  If you can see it, you can change it.  By mapping these neighborhoods and showing pollution levels in real-time, the injustices faced by minorities are hard to overlook or explain away.

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EPA’s Air, Water and Toxic Waste Failures Compounding Health and Safety Risks to Public

EPA’s Air, Water and Toxic Waste Failures Compounding Health and Safety Risks to Public

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, appeared before Congress yesterday and when asked about all the rollbacks of environmental regulations by the agency recently, he defended his leadership saying “All our rules make things better.” 

Why This Matters:  It is patently clear that EPA is making things better for corporate polluters, not ordinary citizens who are negatively impacted by them.

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Supreme Court Closes Loophole, Ensures the Integrity of the Clean Water Act

Supreme Court Closes Loophole, Ensures the Integrity of the Clean Water Act

In a huge win for the Clean Water Act, by a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court held that municipalities and others that discharge pollution are subject to the Act’s restrictions when they discharge the water into groundwater or ditches and it ends up in a water body covered by the law, such as a lake or the ocean.

Why This Matters: Six votes for a pro-conservation interpretation of the Act, including the Chief Justice and Trump-appointee Kavanaugh, has significance beyond this case.

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How Safe Is Your Salad?  FDA Not Ready For Outbreaks According to New Investigative Report

How Safe Is Your Salad? FDA Not Ready For Outbreaks According to New Investigative Report

The Boston Globe and NBC News did an in-depth investigation of the E. coli outbreaks of 2018 and found that there are serious issues with the FDA’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to outbreaks of this potentially deadly illness because the antiquated system the agency has to trace the source of contamination takes so long that by the time it finds a definitive link to a particular farm the tainted product is often off the market. 

Why This Matters:  As we begin to panic about coronavirus, we may be missing the bigger risk to our health right there in our salad bowl.  Food safety systems are something only the government can reliably provide — when it comes to food safety and our health, self-regulation does not work.

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New Study Finds Toxic PFAS in Rainwater Across the U.S.

New Study Finds Toxic PFAS in Rainwater Across the U.S.

We have reported in ODP about widespread PFAS contamination in lakesrivers and groundwater reserves across the country, but this study shows that PFAS is also found in rainwater, according to The Guardian, and the likely sources are direct industrial emissions and evaporation from PFAS-laden fire-fighting foams.

Why This Matters:  PFAS has been shown to cause serious health issues such as cancer, and the immune system and thyroid problems.

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