With cronyism and influence peddling the norm in most government circles, we have been busier than ever. Below, you’ll read about the Trump Administration’s water hypocrisy, how industry giants now rule at Interior, why we are questioning the CDC on cancer, and a small but important effort we are undertaking to keep a wild place wild.
Monday, PEER filed extensive comments on EPA’s proposed rule to eliminate Clean Water Act jurisdiction over millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams. Overall, as much as 60% of U.S. waters and wetlands, and up to 90% in the arid West, would lose federal clean water protections.
EPA says it is making these changes to “preserve … the traditional sovereignty of States over their … water resources.” Of course, that’s pure hypocrisy. On Wednesday, President Trump signed two Executive Orders to restrict the ability of Tribes and States to determine if pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure would meet state water quality standards. Industry lobbied for this move to stifle growing resistance to its heavy-handed tactics and repeated violations of state water quality standards.
While the Trump Administration will try to ram through both proposals, they will be met with a flurry of lawsuits and pushback from a broad spectrum of groups, including PEER.
Industry Giants Rule the Interior
The Senate confirmed a monumentally bad pick to lead the Interior Department on Thursday, David Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist. Meanwhile, documents obtained by PEER reveal a former Monsanto executive serving as a political appointee at Interior used her position to further the agrochemical giant’s agenda promoting the use of bee-harming pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, and genetically modified crops (GMOs).
Cronyism and influence peddling are just part of the rapidly unfolding debacle that we will be working to expose at Interior.
Keeing the Wild Wild
Grand Teton National Park is poised to approve the biggest expansion of wireless facilities in any national park in violation of Park Service policies, and PEER is pushing back. We’re thankful for the people who believe that wilderness should remain wild, and that means in certain areas – no cell phones.
That is a small snapshot of our work so far this month. Thank you for your support and keep in touch!
Punting on Chemical Cancer Link
We have been digging into a class of toxic chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are contaminating drinking water supplies throughout the country. Belatedly, the Centers for Disease Control has decided to study the health effects of these chemicals, but has excluded cancer from its study. We have written the Director asking him why, when so little is known about these chemicals and certain ones are already classified as possibly carcinogenic.