Trump Admin Repeals Obama-Era Clean Water Protections
At stake is the definition of "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act. The Obama-era rule expanded that definition from larger bodies of water to include streams and wetlands. Thursday's repeal will return the country to more-limited 1986 water-protection standards, The Washington Post reported. The administration will also announce a new definition within months.
"Today, EPA and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the previous administration's overreach in the federal regulation of U.S. waters and recodify the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that previously existed," Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a press release. "Today's Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2—a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide."
Today @epa and @USACEHQ repealed the 2015 WOTUS Rule--ending a regulatory patchwork and uncertainty across the Unit… https://t.co/5LYOWsmmnM— U.S. EPA (@U.S. EPA)1568314061.0
Because court rulings have suspended the rule in 28 states, while keeping it in place in 22 others, Wheeler argued that a new rule would provide regulatory certainty across the board.
"We want to make sure that we have a definition that once and for all will be the law of the land in all 50 states," Wheeler told The Washington Post.
"By throwing out the Clean Water Rule, Andrew Wheeler is acting like the former coal lobbyist that he is, putting the drinking water for one in every three Americans at risk just so he can placate corporate polluters who don't want to be held accountable," Dalal Aboulhosn, Sierra Club's Deputy Legislative Director for Land and Water, said in a statement provided to EcoWatch. "We will fight Wheeler's rollback to not only protect our communities from dangerous water pollution, but also restore order and common sense as to how we go about protecting our water in the future."
.@EPAAWheeler announced the final plan to wipe out protections for streams, wetlands, and drinking water at the hea… https://t.co/0koJdt5Ced— Sierra Club (@Sierra Club)1568318554.0
Wheeler made the announcement at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, one of the industry groups that opposed the Clean Water Rule. Critics argued it gave the federal government too much power over the actions of developers and farmers. Farmers were prohibited from planting certain crops near streams or wetlands, or using certain pesticides without an EPA permit, The New York Times explained.
"When you take private property rights from a man who's worked all his life," American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall told The New York Times, "that is very intrusive to him and it's something he just can't stand for."
President Donald Trump singled it out for repeal in a Feb. 2017 executive order, in which the President asked the EPA to start a review process that would lead to "the elimination of this very destructive and horrible rule," The Washington Post explained.
Its repeal means that farmers, developers or landowners will no longer need a permit to pollute the streams and wetlands now excluded from protection, according to The New York Times. When finalized, the new Waters of the United States definition is likely to include streams that feed into larger bodies of water and wetlands directly adjacent to them, but exclude streams that run only during rainfall or wetlands not directly connected to larger waterways.
But the 2015 rule was based on a review of 1,200 scientific studies that showed how important these streams and wetlands are to downstream waters, according to The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
"The Trump administration's wild-eyed attempts to reward polluters knows no bounds, so it is repealing these important protections without regard for the law or sound science," NRDC Director of Federal Water Policy Jon Devine said.
BREAKING: Another day, another environmental rollback. Today, it's the Trump admin.'s repeal of the Clean Water Rul… https://t.co/NBfPp6kljD— NRDC 🌎 (@NRDC 🌎)1568312366.0
The Clean Water Rule repeal is the latest in a growing number of environmental rollbacks initiated by the Trump administration. Others include the repeals of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and tailpipe emissions standards. Wheeler said Thursday that the Trump EPA had finalized 46 deregulatory actions, and that an additional 45 were in the works, NPR reported.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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