On Obama-era environmental regulation is on the chopping block as Trump moves to overturn a rule that limited the dumping of toxic metals, like mercury and arsenic, from power plants into waterways.
The rule would have made power plants, beginning next year, demonstrate that they were removing heavy metals and other pollutants from their wastewater. Head of the Environmental Protection Agency says that the EPA intends to postpone compliance deadlines, arguing that it would cost the industry millions to comply with.
“This action is another example of EPA implementing President Trump’s vision of being good stewards of our natural resources, while not developing regulations that hurt our economy and kill jobs,” Pruitt said in a statement.
“Some of our nation’s largest job producers have objected to this rule, saying the requirements set by the Obama administration are not economically or technologically feasible within the prescribed time frame.”
Environmental groups are up in arms, arguing that it’s simply a giveaway to the industry at the expense of the health of the environment and locals as well.
“Trump’s attempt to halt these clean water protections for mercury, lead and arsenic from coal power plants is dangerous and irresponsible,” the Sierra Club’s Mary Anne Hitt said in a statement.
“Despite all this, Trump’s EPA administrator is trying to throw it all away to placate polluters. Trump’s decision to attack our right to clean water on behalf of coal executives is just another indication of who this administration works for — and it isn’t American families.”
When the regulations were put in place, it was argued that they were a long time coming. In 2015, the Obama administration moved to update said regulations because they hadn’t been updated in decades and that the industry’s toxic waste dumping had gone largely unregulated to begin with.
But Trump has promised to bring back coal jobs, and his EPA is making the case that axing this regulation is one step in doing so.