Tuesday, February 28, 2017

For 3rd Graders and Donald Trump
    Where the water in a river comes from

In another move against the health and welfare of the people of California, the President of the Rust Belt today signed an order to start the process of eliminating the effective protection of our water.

The order directs the rollback of a 2015 environmental regulation that was issued issued under the Clean Water Act of 1972 to give the federal government authority to regulate pollution in smaller streams and rivers that flow into larger bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River, Puget Sound, and the San Francisco Bay.

The rule would have given protection to 60 percent of the US’s bodies of water, including wetlands. The rule was attacked by oil and gas developers, farmers, pesticide and fertilizer makers, and golf course owners, which claimed the regulation infringes on property owners’ rights and is bad for the economy. In 2015, the American Farm Bureau Federation led a lawsuit against the rule, arguing it puts the burden on farmers to get a permit for using fertilizers near ditches and streams. The case has been in the courts ever since, and the rule has never actually been implemented.

Trump's order basically puts defending the legal case on hold, directing the EPA to revise the rule. It was a clear action to continue the process of the Deconstruction of the Administrative State as advocated by Neoliberal Presidential Strategist Steve Bannon.

There was a typical Trump signing event:
“It’s a horrible, horrible rule. Has sort of a nice name, but everything else is bad,” Trump said at a White House signing ceremony, surrounded by Vice President Pence, first lady Melania Trump and top opponents of the regulation, including newly installed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio.).

Farmers, homebuilders and county commissioners were also present.

“The Clean Water Act says that the EPA can regulate navigable waters, meaning waters that truly affect interstate commerce. But a few years ago, the EPA decided that navigable waters can mean nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land, or any place else that they decide,” Trump said before signing the order.
It is reflective of Trump's ignorance, of course. Here's what I would expect third graders to understand.

Most of the water that river systems ultimately deliver to the ocean...

...and that floats the barges...

...comes from such locations as headwater streams...

...but in between the headwater streams, other waterways that ultimately run into navigable waters are polluted by agricultural irrigation runoff filled with pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer...

and runoff from improper development carrying petroleum waste and sewage...

and industrial waste...

which besides killing wildlife gets into our drinking water...

...which in my opinion should be third grade level knowledge. I'm not sure where Trump thinks that nasty water in the puddle outside Trump Towers goes, but it goes somewhere.

California has a significant water quality regulatory program a lot of which depends upon federal regulations the enforcement of which has been delegated to agencies such as the State Water Resources Control Board and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards.

Fortunately, California's navigable waters are wholly within the boundaries of our State. That, combined with proposed new legislation, announced Thursday by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and his colleagues,as an attempt to ensure federal rules on air quality, water protection, endangered species and worker safety would stay on the books in California as explained in the last post California opens environmental defensive front in Trumpism's anti-California War will be enough to protect our children.

As I urged in a previous post we must not suffer fools gladly and never forget Cipolla's five fundamental laws of stupidity:
  1. Always and inevitably each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  2. The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person.
  3. A person is stupid if they cause damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process.
  4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people; they constantly forget that at any time anywhere, and in any circumstance, dealing with or associating themselves with stupid individuals invariably constitutes a costly error.
  5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person there is.
The Trump Administration is full of foolish people led by a fool who apparently lacks a third grade understanding of stream and river systems.

Most importantly despite what the news media says about how it will take time for these orders to actually become effective, we must understand that our defenses must be in place well before that can happen. In fact we must act as soon as possible as just as the implementation of the federal regulations has been stopped by a lawsuit making its way through the courts, the State will undoubted see such a lawsuit.

Understand that if we in California can get our act together soon enough to protect our waters we can feel badly for the people around Puget Sound if they don't get their act together soon enough. But we cannot keep the stupid people along the Mississippi River and its tributaries from harming themselves. We tried November 8, 2016, and they declared war on San Francisco Values.

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