Stop the Dirty Water Rule

If Trump’s Dirty Water Rule is finalized it will leave millions of acres of wetlands without clear Clean Water Act safeguards, along with streams throughout the nation. This will jeopardize the sources of drinking water and create uncertainty for the communities and businesses that rely on access to clean water and the protections that wetlands provide, like pollution filtering and absorbing floodwaters.

We know the majority of the public wants the federal government to do more, not less to protect clean water. Let’s make sure EPA hears from as many people as possible. Send a message today. Subject: RE: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149

Send a letter to EPA now.

“Dirty Water Rule” Actions to Take


January 15 , 2019

EPA announced its Waters of the United States replacement or “Dirty Water Rule”. The administration’s talking points indicate that the proposal would restrict which wetlands and waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act, such as excluding ephemeral streams and wetlands that are not “physically and meaningfully” connected to other jurisdictional waterways.

Here is link to an Add-Up petition opposing the change. Please circulate this petition if you can.

https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National?actionId=AR0135428

The following is provided by Jennifer Collins with Earth Justice.

· Dirty Water Rule. On December 11, 2018, the Trump administration announced the “Dirty Water Rule” or its revised definition of “Waters of the US” that substantially limits the number of waterways receiving protection from the Clean Water Act. The rule is NOT yet posted in the federal register, so the 60 day comment period has not yet begun. A number of groups requested an extension of the comment period, although have not yet heard back. On December 28th, EPA and Army Corps announced that they would do one public hearing in Kansas City, KS on January 23rd and do an online webcast on January 10. Due to the partial government shutdown, the Kansas City hearing has been postponed and on its website, EPA states that if the government is still shut down on the 10th, the webcast will have to be postponed, as well.

Challenges to Rollback of Clean Water Act Definition

This article offers some hope but many comment letters are needed from activists and organizations.

Jane

Rollback of clean water rules unveiled.

Environmental groups and many states are expected to challenge Trump’s proposal.

ACTING Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler said the proposal would not affect California, but experts disagreed, saying state agencies don’t have the resources to do what the EPA does. (Cliff Owen Associated Press By Evan Halper

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration unveiled its plan Tuesday for a major rollback of the Clean Water Act, a blueprint drawn up at the behest of farm groups, real estate developers and other business interests that would end federal protections on thousands of miles of streams and wetlands.

The proposal has big implications for California and other arid Western states, where many of the seasonal streams and wetlands that are a foundation of drinking water supplies and sensitive ecosystems would lose federal protection.

Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the Obama-era rule that put those waters under the protection of the Clean Water Act “further expanded Washington’s reach into privately owned lands.”

“They claimed it was in the interest of water quality, but it was really about power,” Wheeler said. “Power in the hands of the federal government over landowners.”

Studies conducted by the Obama-era EPA suggest that as many as two-thirds of California’s inland freshwater streams fall into categories that would be at risk of losing protection under the Trump administration plan. Wheeler dismissed those studies as scientifically flawed, but his agency said it could not offer an accurate estimate of how much federal protection would be diminished in the state.

“California already has water protections in place that are stricter than the federal government’s, so nothing is going to change for the California waters,” he said.

Former EPA regulators drew a starkly contrasting picture, saying state agencies do not have the resources or expertise to backfill all the work the EPA would stop doing under President Trump’s proposed rule.

“The ramifications could be huge,” said Jessica Kao, who this year left her position as the EPA’s lead Clean Water Act enforcement attorney in the Southwest.

“You will definitely see more development projects outside the purview of the Clean Water Act.”

The new rules would enable many polluting projects to skirt federal environmental reviews and allow companies building structures as diverse as oil pipelines and residential subdivisions to avoid warning the public of potential water-quality hazards they create, she said.

“It will be easier to pollute and fill these streams,” she said. “And years later, we will deal with the consequences.”

The proposal, which now moves into a 60-day public comment period, is certain to draw legal challenges from environmental groups and many states.

The fight marks the latest chapter in a decades-long struggle over the reach of the Clean Water Act. Agriculture businesses, developers, and oil and mining companies say the existing rule has enabled heavy-handed bureaucrats to impose hefty fines on them for disrupting ditches and filling wetlands never meant to be regulated by the federal government.

Farm groups also worry that strict clean water regulations will limit their ability to use pesticides and fertilizers on fields that could drain into creeks and swamps.

The Obama EPA investigated those concerns while drafting the rule and found them to be lacking merit. It reviewed hundreds of studies in concluding that enforcing the protections widely on wetlands and seasonal streams would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits to the economy. The Trump administration’s proposal disputes those benefits, concluding any economic boost to be gained from the Obama-era rule is eclipsed by its costs to landowners and business.

“I don’t know there is one single rule that has caused as much concern and frustration,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “You needed this army of hydrologists and engineers and lawyers just to figure out whether your project could even begin.”

Many states, particularly those with Republican governments, had joined industry in fighting the Obama-era rules, calling them an unwelcome and unnecessary intrusion.

Wheeler quoted a finding from the Missouri Farm Bureau that 95% of the land in that state could contain water subject to the Obama-era rule, which Wheeler said “put local land-use decisions in the hands of distant, unelected bureaucrats.”

Other states, including California, have backed the Obama EPA’s rules. California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra repeated the state’s position Tuesday, saying in a message on Twitter that the state would “defend CA’s right to clean drinking water and pollution-free streams and lakes.”

The Supreme Court has struggled to define which waters should be protected under the Clean Water Act. A 2006 case resulted in multiple opinions.

The Obama administration crafted its rule around the definition of protected waters offered by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who recently retired. But Trump, within a month of taking office, ordered his administration to embrace the far more narrow definition the late Justice Antonin Scalia provided in his opinion.Although the administration plan faces a tough legal fight, the Supreme Court’s shift in a more conservative direction since the Clean Water Act was last heard there could give Trump and his aides an edge.

“It may very well be upheld if the administration does a good job of substantiating its approach,” said an email from Ann Navaro, a former chief counsel of litigation at the Army Corps of Engineers.

But the court is often loath to overturn precedent, and many lower courts have already embraced the Kennedy opinion from a decade ago. Attorneys for environmental groups are hopeful that the scale of the administration’s planned rollback will ultimately sink it in litigation.

“They want to shrink the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act to a level we have not seen in decades,” said Blan Holman, managing attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “They say they are doing something that is consistent with the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling, but it is not.

Clean Water Act Under Threat

The Trump administration’s upcoming proposal will dramatically reduce the scope of streams and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

This radical reinterpretation of the Clean Water Act could remove federal pollution safeguards for vital water bodies like ephemeral streams and wetlands. The new Dirty Water Rule is also likely to apply the protections of the Clean Water Act to only wetlands with a “continuous surface connection” to larger waters. These streams provide drinking water to tens of millions of people while these wetlands filter pollution and protect our communities from flooding.

The Trump Administration’s Dirty Water Rule makes no scientific, legal, or fiscal sense. Streams and wetlands work as natural filters and sponges—keeping our drinking water supplies safe while preventing floods.

If these streams and wetlands lost Clean Water Act protections, the consequences could be dire. For example:

● Oil spills—such as pipeline breaks—into these streams or wetlands may no longer be considered violations of the Clean Water Act.

● Industrial facilities or factory farms could discharge chemical waste or toxic pesticides into unprotected streams without fear of federal consequences.

● Developers may no longer need to obtain a permit before paving over or building on wetlands—leading to a loss of important wildlife habitats and increase in flooding downstream.

● Water treatment plants might be able discharge partially treated sewage into streams without adhering to water quality standards;

● States may no longer be required to clean up polluted streams or wetlands;

● Oil storage facilities near these waters may no longer have to develop oil spill prevention and response plans.

● When agencies fail to enforce the law against polluters of these waterways, the public could no longer hold polluters accountable through citizens’ suits under the Act.

For more than 46 years, the Clean Water Act has helped us ensure more waters are safe for swimming, fishing, and drinking, but there’s much more to be done to ensure everyone has access to clean, safe water. Instead,he Trump administration wants to turn back the clock to a time when fewer protections existed to safeguard people and wildlife from harmful pollution in our waters.

A Threat to Public Health

This rule will jeopardize clean drinking water sources across the United States. This will disproportionately affect low-income communities, rural communities, and communities of color where families already struggle for access to clean water.

Putting Polluters Before People

Dismantling Clean Water Act protections for so many streams and wetland will benefit special interests, not the public. The Dirty Water Rule gives polluters the freedom to contaminate our streams and and destroy our wetlands without regard for how this will impact people’s drinking water, increase flood risks or harm wildlife habitats.

Risking America’s Outdoor Recreation Economy

A recent poll of hunters and anglers found that 92 percent of respondents want to strengthen federal clean water protections rather than weaken them.

America’s outdoor recreation economy – activities like hiking, boating, fishing, and camping along lakes, rivers, and streams – depends on clean water. The recreational economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually, $65 billion in tax revenue, and supports nearly 8 million jobs – all of which could be at risk under the Dirty Water Rule.

How Did We Get Here? In response to a series of conflicting and confusing court decisions that potentially left more than half our nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands at risk, the Obama administration set out to clear up the confusion. In 2015, the Clean Water Rule clarified that those streams and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act. Those streams help provide drinking water to 117 million Americans. The Clean Water Rule was supported by more than 1,000 scientific studies and over 800,000 public comments.

In February 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule. EPA has already proposed the repeal.

What is coming next is the replacement. In fashioning this new rule, the Executive Order instructed EPA to follow Justice Scalia’s extremely narrow interpretation of the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. As such, the expected result is almost certain to be a Dirty Water Rule.

We urge you to editorialize against the Dirty Water Rule. The public cannot afford this administration’s ongoing assault on our clean water. [INSERT EXPERT} from [XXX] is available to speak to the human impact and environmental damages that would result if this Dirty Water Rule is not stopped.

Action Alerts

Trump’s Dirty Water Rule is the last thing we need. If it is finalized it will jeopardize the sources of drinking water our families rely on and create uncertainty for the communities and businesses need access to clean water and the protections that wetlands provide, like filtering pollution and absorbing floodwaters.

Americans want the federal government to do more to protect clean water, but the Trump administration is doing the opposite. Let’s make sure EPA hears from as many people as possible. Send a message today to let EPA know you oppose this dangerous scheme.

Message to EPA

RE: Docket ID: xxx-xxxx-xxxx

Acting Administrator Wheeler,

EPA’s proposed replacement to the 2015 Clean Water Rules should be withdrawn. It wipes out basic Clean Water Act protections for wetlands and streams across the country. This will put our health and drinking water at risk. Our communities can’t afford your Dirty Water Rule.

Your proposed replacement ignores the sound science that tells us streams and wetlands are connected to the larger water bodies that provide our drinking water. Allowing small streams and wetlands to be destroyed will put drinking water at risk by allowing pollution to flow more freely downstream.

This proposed rule also sidesteps public opinion. Broad majorities or the public believe that we should do more, not less, to protect clean water. The only people who will benefit from this scheme will be the corporate polluters who have fought to reduce the scope of the Clean Water Act for more tjhan 40 years.

Please take this comment into account and withdraw this Dirty Water Rule.

Sample Action Emails to Support Clean Water Rule

Sample action emails Newsclips for sharing on social media

● EPA to scale back WOTUS definition — document https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060108967

● EPA’S NEW WATER RULE WILL GUT THE CLEAN WATER ACT https://theintercept.com/2018/12/07/epas-new-water-rule-will-gut-the-clean-water-act/

● TRUMP’S ATTACK ON THE CLEAN WATER ACT WILL FUEL DESTRUCTIVE PIPELINE BOOM https://theintercept.com/2018/12/09/clean-water-act-regulations/

● EPA to roll back protections in rewrite of Obama-era water rule https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/420380-epa-to-roll-back-protections-in-rewrite-of-obama-era-water-rule

● Trump EPA Proposes Major Rollback Of Federal Water Protections https://www.npr.org/2018/12/11/675477583/trump-epa-proposes-big-changes-to-federal-water-protections?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social

● EPA falsely claims ‘no data’ on waters in WOTUS rule https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060109323

● Trump Administration Proposes Sweeping Rollback of Clean Water Act https://www.audubon.org/news/trump-administration-proposes-sweeping-rollback-clean-water-act

● How does Trump compare to Obama on WOTUS? https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060109451

● Op-ed: Urges public comment on rule change https://lancasteronline.com/opinion/urges-public-comment-on-rule-change/article_f4fad136-fe3d-11e8-8314-a3396532ba35.html

Action: Sign Petition on Climate Change

Declare Climate Change a Major Disaster before it’s Too Late

This is a petition to Governor Brown to act A.S.A.P. Governor Brown, please accept leadership of this massive transformation of California to a CLIMATE CHANGE-READY STATE. This life-affirming effort will give us the greatest chance of thriving through change instead of merely surviving change.

We are living in extraordinary times, that require extraordinary actions and your extraordinary leadership.

Sign this petition at Change.org

Request for Temperatures of the Russian River

SONOMA COUNTY (KPIX 5) — The Russian River Watershed Association is asking the public to help take the temperature of water in the Russian River and its tributaries.

The watershed spanning more than 1,400 miles is a popular tourist destination as well as the habitat for dozens of species.

The river has gotten warmer and warmer over the years. This public-supported experiment aims to help map the rising temperatures.
“We are first trying to get people engaged in the community and out in the watershed, and also provide awareness to the general public that temperature is a big concern for the watershed,” said Colleen Hunt, a senior scientist for the Russian River Watershed Association.

One of the biggest concerns is temperature pollution, which can destroy critical habitats for endangered fish species and increase risk for the growth of toxic blue-green algae.

The data isn’t a scientific study, according to Hunt, but it will be the first data set of its kind that is likely to open eyes.

“I think people will be concerned with what they find,” said Hunt.

The Watershed Association said the public doesn’t have to do anything fancy or specific; water thermometers from a local pool store will work just fine. These devices are meant to go in the water and can be found for less than $10.

Once the thermometer is dropped in, it should be left in for about three minutes before an accurate reading is ready.

The Watershed Association asks that the public send their data via email or online submission and they will make a temperature map with the readings. They hope that the data will be the basis for public support and change regarding the watershed.

“The public can do small, incremental things that will make a difference over time, especially caring for the creek and the vegetation of the creek” said Hunt.

All of the other tributaries that flow into the Russian River, such as the Laguna De Santa Rosa, are being affected as well.

There is a whole map of the other tributaries on the Russian River Watershed Association’s website, as well as other ways for the public to get involved and instructions for how to submit temperature data.

To help, go to the temperature monitoring RRWA web page and there will be a form and instructions. 

Thank you.

New from Maven: Groundwater Exchange

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new platform, the Groundwater Exchange, the latest website in my growing library of online resources for the water sector in the west. I hope those of you working to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act will find this a useful resource.

It has been my great pleasure to partner with Environmental Defense Fund and Stanford’s Program on Water in the West on this project and I have included our joint press release below.

Please check out the Groundwater Exchange at www.groundwaterexchange.org and feel free to send me your comments and suggestions. With your help, the Groundwater Exchange will evolve to be a valuable tool in SGMA implementation.

I also invite you to attend our webinar featuring a live demo of the Groundwater Exchange from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. To register, visit https://groundwaterexchangewebinar.eventbrite.com.

Thank you for being a reader of Maven’s Notebook!

Best regards,

Maven

Public Comment on “Water Fix”

To All,

Here is an opportunity to comment on the environmental report called the “Water Fix”.  However, it may not “fix” the water now or in time of drought but be instead a give-away to large water purveyors beside impacting fisheries along with other environmental  harms. Read the document using the link below to learn more.

Larry

Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS

http://www.californiawaterfix.com.

September 21, 2018
Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS Released for Public Review and Comment Under the National Environmental Policy Act.

http://www.californiawaterfix.com.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is issuing the California WaterFix Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for public review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This document evaluates proposed changes to conveyance facilities previously evaluated in the December 2016 Bay Delta Conservation Plan/California WaterFix Final EIR/EIS. On July 17, 2018, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) published the California WaterFix Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS evaluating the proposed changes to the conveyance facilities in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Reclamation’s issuance of the California WaterFix Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS today is the same exact document as was issued by DWR with the addition of a transmittal document that relates the proposed changes to the alternatives previously analyzed in the 2016 Final EIR/EIS.

Public review of the California WaterFix Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS for compliance with NEPA begins on September 21, 2018, when the U.S Environmental Protection Agency posts the notice of availability in the Federal Register. The public comment period closes on November 5, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

The Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS and transmittal document are available electronically at http://www.californiawaterfix.com. If you wish to review a hard copy of the document, please contact Brooke White at (916) 414-2402. A hard copy will be available for review at Bay-Delta Office, Mid-Pacific Region, Bureau of Reclamation, 801 I Street, Suite 140, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Comments on the document should be mailed to WaterFix Comments 2018, P.O. Box 1919 Sacramento, CA 95812 or emailed to WaterFixComments@icf.com with the subject line “Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS Comments.” All substantive comments received on the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS prior to close of the NEPA comment period will be responded to in the Final Supplemental EIR/EIS.

Comments must be received on or before 5:00 p.m. on November 5, 2018. Comments should be limited to the scope of analysis in the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS. Because the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS is a stand-alone document, commenters should not rely on previous submittals to DWR, Reclamation, or other agencies – new comments on the analysis contained within this document must be submitted. Comments submitted on other WaterFix environmental documents and comments on subjects outside of the scope of the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS do not require a written response in the Final Supplemental EIR/EIS.

Please note that names, mailing addresses and email addresses provided to the lead agencies from commenters during this formal public comment period will become part of the public record.

Action to tell the EPA to ban Atrazine

To  All,

Below is an appeal by the Environmental Working Group to get the EPA to ban Atrazine.

Millions of Americans are at risk of drinking a toxic chemical that can turn male frogs into female frogs with viable eggs!

Atrazine, produced by chemical industry giant Syngenta, is one of the most widely used pesticides in the United States. More than 70 million pounds of atrazine are dumped on American farmland each year. It’s been linked to serious health risks like cancer, shorter pregnancy and hormone disruption.

Now, the Environmental Protection Agency is getting ready to give Syngenta the greenlight to continue spraying this hazardous chemical. But the EPA’s analysis is critically flawed and ignored more than 10 studies linking atrazine with harm to human health.

We need to overwhelm the EPA with comments before the November 23 deadline to compel the agency to BAN atrazine.

Tell the EPA to stand up for public health and BAN atrazine. Syngenta’s pesticide is dangerous for our health and our environment.

Under this administration, the EPA has consistently put chemical industry profits ahead of public health. We can’t let it happen again. In less than two years, the EPA has:

Cancelled a scheduled ban of chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide that can cause brain damage in kids. The ban was cancelled just weeks after the EPA met with Dow Chemical.
Unsealed court documents revealing Monsanto’s attempts to collude with the EPA to cover up the cancer risks of glyphosate.
Dismissed the human health risks of toxic chemicals found in drinking water, such as dry cleaning ingredient TCE, a carcinogen found in the tap water supplies of 14 million Americans.
We need to stand up to the chemical industry and make sure the EPA looks out for our health, not chemical industry profits.

Will you join us and call on the EPA to ban atrazine?

TAKE ACTION by clicking on this link: http://secure.ewg.org/salsa/track.jsp?v=2&c=XVoqp%2FczQbGmPbI2fiH5g4K4e2dgPG5%2F

Thanks for standing with us,

Olga Naidenko
Senior Science Advisor, EWG