Who needs clean water?

Via here we get to see the priorities of the Trump administration:

The proposal would virtually eliminate annual Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding, slashing it from $300 million to $10 million among other cuts that would altogether reduce the EPA’s total budget by a quarter.

The Great Lakes funding cut is the largest total dollar reduction on a list that includes major cuts to climate change programs, restoration funding for Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay, research into chemicals that disrupt human reproductive and developmental systems, enforcement of pollution laws and funding for Brownfield cleanups.

The plan also includes a $13 million cut in compliance monitoring, which the EPA uses to ensure the safety of drinking water systems. State grants for beach water quality testing would also be eliminated.

Other EPA cuts in the plan include a 30 percent reduction in state and local air grants from 2017 levels, a 24 percent cut to the overall budget, decrease of staffing by 19 percent, elimination of the Indoor Air Radon Program and state indoor radon grants, elimination of the Environmental Justice office and a reduction of environmental justice funds by more than 77 percent from 2017 levels, according to the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.

Hey, remember when water pollution was so bad that rivers caught fire?

EPA’s new rule on Clean Water bothers groups that want to pollute

The EPA under the Obama administration has passed new rules on what waterways the Clean Water Act applies to:

The Clean Water Rule, drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, extends the Clean Water Act’s protections to all tributaries with signs of flowing water. These streams and wetlands can have a crucial effect on the health of downstream waters, agency officials say. For “drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement.

This restores protections that the waterways had until rulings by the Supreme Court:

The uncertainty stems from a 2006 Supreme Court decision that concluded the act protects against illegal discharges into streams and wetlands that connect to navigable waters, but that did not define what qualified as a connection.

Republicans, of course, are against the expansion:

“The administration’s decree to unilaterally expand federal authority is a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs,” House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said in a statement.

Let’s be clear what this is about:

Granta Nakayama, who served as the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the EPA until 2009, found that between July 2006 and March 2008 the agency had decided not to pursue formal enforcement in 304 cases because of jurisdictional uncertainty.

In 2008, in an internal memo, Nakayama wrote that the uncertainty “results in delays in enforcement and increases the resources needed to bring enforcement cases.”

And so in 2007, when an oil company discharged thousands of gallons of crude oil into Edwards Creek in Titus County, Texas, the EPA did not issue a fine, pursue legal action or even require clean up. Similarly, after a farming operation dumped manure into tributaries that fed Lake Blackshear in Georgia, the EPA did not seek to hold the polluting company responsible — despite the fact that tests showed unsafe levels of bacteria and viruses in the lake, which was regularly used for waterskiing and other recreation.

Businesses and large farmers want to be able to save money by polluting, that’s what Boehner and the Republicans are supporting.

A clean Boston harbor

In 1984 Boston had one of the dirtiest harbors in the country, now it might have the cleanest:

The opening of a massive sewage holding tank under South Boston today will complete a transformation of Boston Harbor that was almost unimaginable three decades ago: The city’s once-fouled beaches are now so clean that swimmers can dive in virtually every summer day.

The 2.1-mile-long tank under Day Boulevard will temporarily store up to 19 million gallons of waste water that would otherwise overwhelm the sewer system when it rains, sending untreated sewage into the harbor off South Boston and Dorchester. The dirty water collected in the holding tunnel will be pumped to the Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant once storms pass.

The result, according to government officials? Instead of an average of eight beach closures each summer, there will be, at most, an average of one in five years.

The Bruins win the Stanley Cup and the harbor is now, mostly, clean? Yay.

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