On the campaign trail, President Trump promised to get rid of regulations, especially those designed to protect the environment. One of those regulations has to do with water. In fact very small bodies of water.
Every year, hundreds of commercial ships make their way through the St. Lawrence seaway, taking on and letting out water to maintain stability as they load and unload cargo. This ballast water is regulated to prevent the spread of invasive species, but there is some disagreement about who should be in charge of those regulations.
Dams and dam safety were front and center this week as a hundred thousand people were evacuated in Californiabecause of structural damage at the country’s tallest dam. The Oroville dam helps provide drinking water and hydroelectric power to millions of Californians. But 75 percent of Pennsylvania’s 3,000 dams are so-called “low-head dams” and don’t provide drinking water or create reservoirs for flood control. So in recent years, Pennsylvania has been making a big push to remove them with the help of conservation organizations like American Rivers.
It’s an Obama-era regulation with a simple name and seemingly straight-forward purpose. But since its authoring, the Waters of the U.S. Rule — also known as the Clean Water Rule — has been embroiled in controversy. Don’t expect that to change under the Trump administration.