To the Sioux Center News:
In 1972, following major river contamination problems, the Clean Water Act was passed. In 2015, the Clean Water Rule was passed to clear up confusion over which waters were protected. On June 1, 2020, the EPA under the Trump administration, bypassing all scientific recommendations, passed a rule which weakens clean water protection and replaces the Clean Water Rule with the Dirty Water Rule, which removes protection for 1 in 5 streams, greater than 50 percent of wetlands, along with additional lakes and ponds.
President Donald Trump and his EPA are also chipping away at the Clean Water Act by allowing minimal environmental studies and the speeding up of federal permit processes, so companies can mine, drill, pave and release chemicals and raw sewage with less oversight. Rulings would limit the ability of states and tribes to protect their own waterways and would weaken restrictions on coal-fired plants, the largest contributor to heavy metal contamination of mercury, arsenic, lead and selenium into waterways.
Why does this matter? The July issue of National Geographic published an article on the Indus River watershed in India. Arsenic released into the waters from irrigation practices and chemical applications is destroying kidneys in high numbers, even in the children. China’s contamination problems have ruined childhood in many areas. In Shanghai, 52 of 65 water sites are rated unfit for human contact. Arable land area greater than the size of Belgium lies unused due to heavy metal contamination from industry and irrigation. Cancer villages abound at the mouths of rivers and heavily industrialized areas. Adults report that as children they swam in clear waters that are now untouchable. Our children trust us. Is this trust deserved?