Opinion

Trump administration continues to threaten drinking water safety

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is committed to repealing and replacing the Clean Water Rule with a weaker standard that would ultimately hurt the health of our waterways and our families.
14 Mar 2018 – 3:46 PM EDT

Once again, Congress is playing dirty tricks with our drinking water to the detriment of Latino families and communities.

In 2015, EPA finalized the Clean Water Rule, a commonsense safeguard that organizations like ours and people across the country welcomed to better protect our streams, rivers and wetlands that are vital for the clean drinking water of one in every three people in this country.

Now, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is committed to repealing and replacing the rule with a weaker standard that would ultimately hurt the health of our waterways and our families. We have witnessed the efforts of members of Congress trying to shield Pruitt and the Administration as they work to eliminate the rule by adding language, a “rider,” in a must pass spending bill that would cut out the public’s voice in addressing water protections and public health impacts in their communities and potentially prevent future court challenges and impede due process.

The only explanation for this rider is that Scott Pruitt’s friends in Congress want to provide cover, as he puts the interest of the polluter industry over America’s health and well-being. Trump’s EPA and their Republican allies in Congress are attacking the safeguards that keep our water clean, to make it easier for industry to pollute our streams and rivers, boosting their profits while making our kids sick in the process.

Latinos understand the need for these protections as our communities are disproportionately impacted by pollution and toxic exposure. Half of all U.S. Latinos live in the country’s most polluted cities and we have already began to witness the impacts from changes in climate and extreme weather patterns, magnifying other problems like poverty, chronic health issues, and inadequate infrastructure.

Polling shows that ninety percent of Latinos understand that we must strengthen and enforce bedrock environmental laws like the Clean Water Act to ensure protections for our waterways and drinking water sources. GreenLatinos and Latinos across the country have also stood with the Standing Rock Sioux nation and the people of Flint who understand firsthand the importance of water for their health and way of life.

We urge members of Congress to reject this dirty water rider, along the dozens of other dirty riders that would harm our health and environment, and instead pass a clean budget that funds vital government programs while providing a lasting solution for the 800,000 Dreamers living, working, and contributing to the future of this country.

Mark Magaña is the President and CEO of GreenLatinos.