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The Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility is located near Kaanapali beach, on the west side of Maui. Falco Ermert / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Brett Walton

Defying a vote of the County Council, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said on Oct.18 that he will not settle a Clean Water Act lawsuit that holds national implications for water pollution permitting.

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Maryland wetlands near Nanticoke Wildlife Management Area. Farmers, developers or landowners will no longer need a permit to pollute the streams and wetlands. NRDC / Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr

The Trump administration repealed the 2015 Clean Water Rule rule Thursday, a rule intended to protect 60 percent of the nation's waterways from pollution, The New York Times reported.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Tara Lohan

It was 1985 and privatization, deregulation and free trade were in the air. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President Ronald Reagan were negotiating a free trade deal — a precursor to NAFTA. Among the goods it would cover: "Water, including … mineral waters … ice and snow."

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Drink water fountain near a playground at the grounds of the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA on Feb. 6. Bastiaan Slabbers / NurPhoto / Getty Images

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proposal Thursday night to change Clean Water Act rules and streamline the federal permit approval process for infrastructure projects like pipelines.

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The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California's few remaining coastal wetlands. Edmund Lowe Photography / Moment / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

In a move environmentalists are warning will seriously endanger drinking water and wildlife nationwide, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly gearing up to hand yet another gift to big polluters by drastically curtailing the number of waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

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Water and sediment sampling operations during the EPA's response to the Enbridge oil spill on Morrow Lake, MI in 2010. USEPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is delaying the roll out of a controversial science proposal after receiving nearly 600,000 comments on the plan, The Hill reported Wednesday.

The proposal would have limited the kinds of studies the EPA could use to make regulations to only studies that relied on data that was publicly available and therefore reproducible. But scientists and environmentalists warned that would exclude many important public health studies that relied on confidential patient medical records, ABC News reported.

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Construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Appalachian Trail Conservancy screenshot

By Courtney Lindwall

Communities along the 300-mile proposed route for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) heard some good news this week. On Tuesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously voted to vacate a permit required by the Clean Water Act, which was previously issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The ruling stated the Army Corps lacked the authority to substitute one type of construction for another for the natural gas pipeline, which would crisscross rivers and other sensitive aquatic ecosystems hundreds of times between northern West Virginia and southern Virginia.

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Jones Gap State Park in Greenville County, South Carolina. Jason A G / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

A federal judge invalidated the Trump administration's suspension of the Clean Water Rule, effectively reinstating the Obama-era regulation in 26 states.

The 2015 rule, also known as Waters of the United States (WOTUS) defines which waters can be protected from pollution and destruction under the Clean Water Act. It protects large water bodies such as lakes and rivers, as well as small streams and wetlands.

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The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC. Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Ken Kimmell

Battle lines over President Trump's nominee for a new U.S. Supreme Court justice are now being drawn, as they should be, over crucial issues such as a woman's right to choose, health care, immigration, civil rights and criminal justice. In past nomination fights, little attention has been paid to the court's role in shaping environmental law and science-based regulation. But it would be a major mistake to overlook these issues now. The Supreme Court has an enormous impact on how U.S. environmental laws are interpreted and enforced, and a new justice could tip the balance against science-based rules on climate change, clean air and clean water.

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Cement Creek at Silverton, CO. The region downstream from the Gold King Mine has been an area of extensive USGS water quality research. U.S. Geological Survey

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt on Wednesday proposed another way to weaken U.S. environmental regulations protecting the nation's waterways from pollution.

In a memo dated June 26 but released June 27, Pruitt asked the EPA's Office of Water and Regional Administrators to draft a proposal that would restrict the agency's ability to revoke permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) allowing projects to dispose of dredged or fill material in rivers, streams and other waterways, The Hill reported.

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Anthony Kennedy swears in Trump Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch. Shealah Craighead / The White House

When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, the court lost a key swing vote on environmental issues, The Atlantic reported.

Whoever President Donald Trump nominates to replace the 81-year-old Reagan-appointee, who The New York Times called "an equal opportunity disappointer," according to Grist, is likely to be more conservative and could determine the fate of U.S. climate policy, the Endangered Species Act and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt's attempts to roll back Obama-era clean water regulations, legal experts told The Atlantic.

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