Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trump: Heading to a Polluted Future

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trump: Heading to a Polluted Future

Article excerpt

Byline: Ron Littlepage

The rat-tat-tat drumbeat of a pileated woodpecker intermingled rather loudly with the whistles and trills of songbirds as I sat still in a hardwood bottom on a glorious Florida February morning.

The music of nature soothes the soul and focuses the mind.

Are we in danger of losing such places of needed respite? That's the direction the new administration of President Donald Trump is leading us.

Trump has installed Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma's attorney general fought fiercely against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as head of the EPA.

Trump himself has signed an order allowing surface-mining operations to dump waste into nearby waterways.

And, according to The Washington Post, Trump is readying directives that would promote fossil-fuel production in the United States, including on federally owned land, when clearly the future lies in renewable energy.

The targets of Trump and his supporters in the coal, oil and gas industries, in agriculture, in the timber industry and in development are the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act.

It's worthwhile to recall the state of the environment before the Clean Water Act was passed by Congress in 1972.

Three years earlier, Cleveland's Cuyahoga River caught fire.

That wasn't a surprise to the people living there because the river was so polluted it had burst into flames almost every decade for the past century.

Although the Cuyahoga still has problems, the pollution controls that came with the Clean Water Act led to the river being named one of 14 American Heritage Rivers in 1998.

While other rivers in the United States are also impaired, at least as one former EPA administrator commented, they are no longer flammable.

But one doesn't have to look to Cleveland to gauge the importance of the Clean Water Act. …

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