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PNS Daily Newscast - September 20, 2019 


A whistleblower complaint against President Trump sets off tug-of-war between Congress and the White House; and students around the world strike today to demand action on climate change.

2020Talks - September 20, 2019. (3 min.)  


Climate change is a big issue this election season, and global climate strikes kick off, while UAW labor strikes continue.

Daily Newscasts

Comment Period Closing on Clean Water Act Rollback

Thousands of stream miles and wetlands could lose Clean Water Act protections under an EPA proposal to change the Waters of the United States rule. (Samuel Taylor for Birth Place of Rivers)
Thousands of stream miles and wetlands could lose Clean Water Act protections under an EPA proposal to change the Waters of the United States rule. (Samuel Taylor for Birth Place of Rivers)
April 15, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Today is the deadline for public comment on a plan to reduce the reach of the Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protect Agency wants to change the definition of the Waters of the United States rule.

The shift would limit the law's protections to major waterways and their tributaries. Jan Goldman-Carter, senior director of Wetlands and Water Resources with the National Wildlife Federation, said it could remove protections from almost half the wetlands and from miles of streams in the lower 48 states.

"The Clean Water Act, and all the 47 years of work that we have done as a country, is basically turned on its head by this proposal,” Goldman-Carter said. “We’re really at a juncture where if we want to have a clean-water future, we've got to speak out."

In support of the change, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said it would provide "states and landowners the certainty they need to manage their natural resources and grow local economies." The coal industry also favors the plan, saying it would ease regulation on surface mines.

Goldman-Carter said streams that would lose protections under the rule supply drinking water to more than 100 million Americans. And she said allowing more pollution into headwaters will inevitably impact the larger waterways.

"This administration made a decision to ignore the basic eighth-grade science that water flows downhill and if you don't control pollutants upstream in a watershed, you will have a lot of pollution downstream,” she said.

The public can comment on changes to the "Waters of the U.S.” proposal at regulations.gov.

Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV