Just call for clean water | Editorials and columns

Finding a balance between environmental protection and development conducive to economic growth has always been the challenge of environmental regulation.

The Trump administration was not interested in balance, however. He easily took away science-based environmental protections for the benefit of developers everywhere. Particularly egregious was the elimination of an Environmental Protection Agency rule designed to protect downstream waters from agriculture and upstream industrial development.

Under the rule, the EPA had jurisdiction over seasonally dry waterways and wetlands that play an important role in filtering and cleaning water during rainy seasons, particularly in the west. and the southwest. After the decision, a panel of independent scientists selected by the Trump administration itself lambasted the decision as likely to reduce water quality and destroy waterways.

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have identified more than 330 projects on formerly protected land. EPA administrator Michael Regan said on Wednesday the agency would restore protection.

The rule is especially important for Pennsylvania because without it, scientists have testified in congressional hearings, deadly algal blooms in Lake Erie caused by agricultural runoff, mostly from Ohio, will become even worse. .

There is no reason why the United States cannot promote environmental protection in concert with economic growth. The key is to serve the greater public good rather than narrow vested interests, which the Biden administration did by reinstating the settlement.

About Edward Fries

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