I went surfing yesterday, as I do most days. It was very small. Knee-to-waist high little runners with a very occasional chest high wave. Grey skies, no wind, absolutely glassy, almost no one out. It was a nice morning. At one point, though, I paddled through an oil slick, which isn’t all that uncommon. It’s still disgusting, though. Chances are it came from a fishing trawling sitting off shore that leaked a bit of diesel from its motors and not from a creek, but still, it’s disgusting. Clean water is nice, both for surfing and for drinking. That’s why the EPA’s new announcement–which has gone relatively under the radar because of all the other shitstorms occurring on Capitol Hill right now–is disappointing, to say the least.
“The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Army, and Army Corps of Engineers (the agencies) are proposing a rule to rescind the Clean Water Rule and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to 2015 defining ‘waters of the United States’ or WOTUS,” reads the first paragraph of the news release.
The Clean Water Rule is exactly what it sounds like: a set of rules that dictate how much shit can be poured into streams and wetlands that empty into navigable waters, interstate waters, and territorial seas. It was a good thing, and although it made it difficult for many of those involved in agriculture, it was a step in the right direction. It’s a complicated subject though–we all need to eat food that farmers produce, and stricter regulations made their jobs more difficult. But in the end, the goal was simple: don’t dump toxic shit into creeks or wetland areas, because that’s bad.
“We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” EPA Administrator/guy who gets coal-related boners Scott Pruitt said in the statement.
So what, exactly, does “return power to the states” mean? Prior to Pruitt’s appointment as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, it was accused of “government overreach.” All the time. Constantly. It was accused of government overreach because it threw a wrench in the cogs of giant corporations that suddenly found they couldn’t rampantly pollute anymore. In short, “returning power to the states” means making it easier to pollute freely.
This comes after a frightening report from the NOAA that predicts a well-establish dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will increase by nearly 60 percent this summer, largely due to agricultural runoff.
I’ll leave you with that old Bible saying, “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” If the EPA wants to make is easier to pollute, we’re all going to pay for it.