Thursday, March 02, 2017

EPA head: 'WOTUS' rule rollback first step in regulation relief; study says drinking water at risk

Screen shot of Environmental Working Group map
of counties that get drinking water from streams.
For the interactive version click here
New Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt said Tuesday at the American Farm Bureau Federation advocacy conference that rolling back the waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, under the Clean Water Act, "is just the first step toward fixing what's wrong with our government regulations," Marc Heller reports for Greenwire. Pruitt, who didn't elaborate on how the agency may rewrite the Clean Water Act regulation, said, "I'm looking forward to the regulatory rollback to provide certainty to you."

Heller writes, "Pruitt was short on specifics about other regulations affecting agriculture that might face extra scrutiny. He said the agency needs to tackle cleanup of around 1,300 Superfund sites nationally and roll back the Clean Power Plan regulating power plant emissions."

A county-level analysis released Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group says that rolling back the Clean Water Act "puts the drinking water of 117 million Americans at risk," Alex Formuzis reports for the organization. "EWG found that more than one-third of the nation’s people get at least some of their drinking water from small streams and more than 72 million Americans in 1,033 counties rely on small streams for more than half of their water."

"EWG researchers drew on geospatial data compiled by the EPA to identify the counties that are most dependent on small streams for their drinking water. In more than 21 states, at least a million people fit this criteria—more than five million each in New York, Texas and Pennsylvania, and more than three million each in Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, California and Arizona," Formuzis writes.

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