Trump is giving voters in coal country a real taste of the deregulation they cheered for on the campaign trail. It comes in the form of the repeal of a clean water rule that he signed on Thursday.
Coal mining waste can now be freely dumped in rivers and streams that feed into the drinking water supply of nearby residents, and the larger bodies of water they connect to. The toxins include iron, copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum and tungsten, among others, according to the EPA.
Trump claimed that protecting clean drinking water supplies creates an unnecessary expense for coal mining companies. According to The Hill, Trump said environmental rules are, “a major threat to your jobs.”
Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA signals that eliminating clean water regulations is only the beginning of an all-out assault on environmental protections.
As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt led or joined more than a dozen lawsuits challenging EPA rules governing power plant pollution, carbon dioxide emissions and wetlands.
Returning America to the days of choking smog and filthy waterways has been a goal of the Republican Party for decades. Now the campaign rhetoric is becoming reality and it is frightening. For animals, wildlife, and the natural beauty of our nation, it may also be irreversible.
Keeping our air clean and our water safe to drink requires industries that create toxic waste to dispose of it safely. As far as conservatives are concerned, responsibly protecting public health is too much of a financial burden, even for highly profitable companies.
The argument that jobs will be created if Big Polluters are allowed to dump their waste wherever they want is intentionally misleading. As The Intercept notes, Trump’s attack on environmental regulations is part of a much bigger plan to erase public knowledge on the threats of corporate cronyism.
This bald industry bid to subvert public health-based regulations that can cut into profit isn’t new. What’s new is that this upside-down environmental attack, in which those who benefit directly from polluting industries are policing the independent scientists who can show the harms of their products, could now succeed.
For Republicans, it’s been fairly easy to play the ‘jobs card’ when it comes to deregulation. That’s partly because their base still hasn’t made the connection between GOP lies and reality. The EPA was created for a reason that Republicans don’t want to admit. When businesses that profit from polluting are allowed to self-regulate, people and animals get sick and die.
As for the coal miners who think Trump just did them a favor by making it legal to poison their water? Ask them if voting Republican was such a good idea when the lead is pouring out of their faucets and into their children.
Tell lawmakers what you think of their plans for your future by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
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