The Trump Administration’s attempts to rollback decades of environmental, workplace, and safety protections will be met with some RESISTANCE. The law of the land requires that any executive agency seeking to change any existing regulation has to invite and review public comments.  At least in this setting, citizen voices have something approaching the same weight as that of paid lobbyists.  At IEB we’re tracking as many of these proposed rollbacks as possible so that our members can make their voices heard. Please read the background information in the links below and comment (and comment often) to protect the country!

Marine Sanctuary and Monument Status

Deadline: August 15, 2017

Protect California’s coast from oil & gas development. The Department of Commerce is reviewing the Marine Sanctuary and Monument status for our protected coastal regions ahead of their efforts to open these areas up for oil, gas, and minerals extraction. Please comment via to protect our shores!  We’ve seen this movie before and we don’t need a repeat.  See an IEB member’s detailed explainer on the marine sanctuaries issue for additional inspiration for your comments!

Oil & Gas drilling in the Arctic and off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts

Deadline: August 17, 2017

The America-First Offshore Energy Strategy aims to open millions of acres of ocean to oil & gas production by permitting bids on leases in Department of the Interior program that had been paused since the 2010 Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The first step in this process was the opening of an RFI (Request for Information) filed on June 29, 2017 by the Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM). Trump wants to scrap an Obama-era plan that PAUSED additional offshore oil exploration until 2022 and replace it with a new Five Year Outer Continental Shelf and Gas Leasing Program that would allow new exploration and drilling as soon as 2019.

To stop this, you can tell Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke that the existing protections in the 2017-2022 Five Year Plan should not be changed. Submit your comments here

For detailed talking points and references to include in your comment submission, please see our supplemental on docket-BOEM-2017-0050.

Waters of the U.S. Rule Redefinition

Deadline: August 28, 2017

This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine waters of the U.S by rescinding the May 2015 Clean Water Rule, (also known as the Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS). Comment on the docket by August 28th to tell the EPA that streams and wetlands are critical to ensuring clean and safe drinking water for millions of Americans; we must keep the WOTUS rule.

WOTUS  asserts federal power over ponds, headwaters, wetlands and other water bodies that feed into larger water areas. Reversing this rule will revert to the previous rule, which gave the EPA the authority to regulate “navigable water only,” and the EPA’s authority to regulate headwaters was legally confusing.  Reverting to the old water rule would create ambiguity and strip out needed protections for the streams that feed drinking water sources.  If abolished, we could be drinking polluted water: 60% of the streams and wetlands in the lower 48 states would lose pollution protection. Wetlands have ecological importance, including removing harmful pollution from water. Wetlands also store water, important during times of drought, and soak up runoff and floodwaters and are vital for wildlife.

According to the Audubon Society, “Clean Water Act (of 2015) has been quite successful cleaning up rivers, like the infamous Cuyahoga “River that Caught Fire” in Ohio from decades of urban and industrial pollution. In total, WOTUS placed 117 million people’s drinking water sources solidly under EPA jurisdiction—that’s about a third of the country’s population.

(Thanks to IEB member Sarah for preparing the WOTUS rule-making summary!)