The EPA is the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Their job is to protect the country’s environment and residents. They are in charge of creating and enforcing environmental laws. They also monitor, analyze, and report on the environment, as well as research the environment to find new ways to improve it. Another part of their role is managing the country’s waste. One significant aspect of the organization is their water regulation. They are in charge of making sure American residents have clean, safe water flowing from their taps. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case. They regulate a list of several harmful contaminants under the Clean Water Act. The list, although extensive, does not include every harmful water contaminant. Even many of the regulated pollutants are allowed in significant quantities that are still harmful to the human body. On top of this, there are many holes in the regulatory system that allows for cities to get away with violating standards without punishment.
The “Dirty Water Rule”
If the Clean Water Act still allows for dirty water, the Dirty Water Rule has to be far from good. This idea was proposed on December 11, 2018. This rule is still just an idea and has yet to become a reality. I hope, for the country’s sake, it stays this way. This rule would make it so thousands of miles of U.S. waterways and vast amounts of wetlands would no longer be federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. This eliminates regulation of the small water sources that feed into the large, important bodies of water. This lack of regulation puts these large water sources at risk of pollution as well as millions of Americans. While the Clean Water Act is highly flawed, at least it provides some form of protection for the public water supply. Taking this away would make American tap water much more dangerous than it already is.
The Goal of This Proposal
Surprisingly, there is a goal in this rule, and it is not to merely hurt the health of millions of Americans. According to the EPA’s acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, the goal is to “provide states and landowners the certainty they need to manage their natural resources and grow local economies.” This sounds like a great goal and something we should want, but unfortunately, this rule would do more harm than good for the public as well as the environment. Ideally, private landowners and states should be able to manage their water supplies, but realistically, many people would likely take advantage of this freedom. They could see this as an opportunity to get lazy and not regulate the water the way they should.
What The EPA Needs To Do
Rather than try to reduce water regulations, they need to do the exact opposite. The public water quality is far from ideal, and often dangerous. They need to be more attentive and strict with their regulations and make sure that cities are following the guidelines. On top of this, they should tighten up the preexisting contaminant list, as well as add to it. Several contaminants are legal in large, dangerous amounts and that needs to be reduced. The list has not been modified since 1996. A lot changes in 20 years and there have been several more contaminants found that have yet to become regulated.