Erin Brockovich: 'Shit Flows Downhill': What the Trump Clean Water Act Rollbacks Really Mean - EnviroNews | The Environmental News Specialists

Erin Brockovich: ‘Shit Flows Downhill’: What the Trump Clean Water Act Rollbacks Really Mean

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) — On Jan. 23, 2020, the Trump Administration finalized a rule rolling back the Clean Water Act (the Act), marking the first time it has ever been reduced in power outside of the courts. Specifically, the changes lay waste to protections for ephemeral and intermittent waterways that flow only in response to precipitation, and wetlands that aren’t directly connected to a major “navigable” river or waterway. Trump’s “Dirty Water Rule,” as it is being called across social media, has sparked outrage, concern, and fear amongst the environmental community.

The modifications to the rules were announced at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas – an event featuring the industry many critics say will benefit most from the changes. Meanwhile, others see this as a huge win for agriculture, while still other opponents claim the rules were ramrodded through at the behest of the mining industry.

The Act has been weakened before by the courts in United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes, Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States, and Rapanos v. United States. Nevertheless, headlines like ‘Biggest Loss of water protection the country has ever seen’: Trump Guts Safeguards for US Streams and Wetlands, rang out around the country, reporting this as the biggest assault on water quality in U.S. history. But will the rollbacks be as devastating as news agencies and environmental groups claim? What’s the real scoop, and should you be concerned? In an effort to find out the answer to those questions, EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry spoke in-depth with Erin Brockovich, one of America’s most well-known water protectors.

Brockovich gives it to readers straight in regards to the President (undergoing an impeachment trial in real-time), the changes to the Clean Water Act, and whether citizens should feel concerned over their own water supplies because of this recent move. The transcript to that interview reads as follows:

Emerson Urry: These rollbacks specifically exclude or weaken protections for streams and other smaller waterways like ephemeral and intermittent creeks, streams, and wetlands. According to some sources, the rollbacks would also exclude groundwater. What does it mean for the health of communities if these rollbacks really stick?

Erin Brockovich: There is no question whether the Trump Administration Clean Water Act rollbacks are going to stick or not; they are the law of the land. Let’s put the President’s pandering to corporate polluters in perspective: the regulations have barely been in effect for a year, they truly have just caused a great deal of confusion with the Army Corps of Engineers, which claimed it was unclear on how to implement them. And frankly, as a country we would have gone a long way simply enforcing the regulations on the books before the Obama Administration.

Urry: Specifically, what chemicals or pollutants do you think we will see increase in U.S. water supplies as a result of the rollback?

Brockovich: Predominantly agriculture-related discharges. So, nutrients like nitrates and phosphates, as well as pesticides like glyphosate (Roundup), which my State of California spays tons of every day into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. We aren’t talking about point source discharges [with this change] whatsoever.

Urry: What impacts could that have on human health?

Brockovich: In drinking water, nitrates have been a problem from the beginning. Probably the first Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) in the Safe Drinking Water Act was about nitrate contamination. By far the biggest heath impacts will be from the thousands of Hazardous Algae Blooms (HABs) this will cause. HABs are known to cause upper respiratory distress, neurological disease and death. This is where we need to focus.

Urry: In general, what does the Clean Water Act mean for the health and safety of American citizens? How can it be protected from future whimsical political assaults?

Brockovich: People always confuse the Clean Water Act with the Safe Drinking Water Act — they are very separate laws. The Clean Water Act is about wastewater discharges, point and non-point is how they are regulated. A point source will still be extremely heavily regulated [under the new rules]; that would be a discharge from a factory or community sewer system.

The part of the regulation we are talking about here today is the non-point sources from agriculture, livestock farms and large landscaped areas like parks, malls, golf courses and parkways. The fertilizers and pesticides will be less regulated and drain into our waterways. There are scores of overlapping state, county and local regulations that do [already] regulate these activities. The focus of these rollbacks is predominately on the corporate farms.

Urry: How can we get off of this politically-driven seesaw battle, wherein one party tries to strengthen the Act, and when the other party gains power they try to strip away all the hard-fought gains?

Brockovich: People need to get educated. Regulatory agencies need to explain these problems as simple concepts. Remember what I said earlier: the Corps of Engineers struggled to understand implementation of the last set of regulations, so how are regular citizens supposed to?

We need to enforce common sense. When downstream waters become impaired because of these cuttings of regulations, locals must act — even if it requires litigation. Lake Okeechobee and Lake Erie come to mind as prime examples of how shit flows downhill.

Urry: In general should the Clean Water Act be strengthened, or does it just need better enforcement? If it needs augmentation, how specifically could the Act be upgraded to be more effective in protecting U.S. citizens?

Brockovich: Simple rule: mind your own business. If water discharges flow from your property and impact my property, you are violating my rights. If the chemicals you have applied to your property find their way into public waters and harm water quality, you’re going to get sued. Remember, we have three branches of government; we have our own state laws and regulations; when one gets out of whack use the others to fight the cause.

Right now, the executive branch is making points with Big Ag. The problem is, no one wants to do the heavy lifting — the real work — so, we have to do it ourselves. Superman is not coming. 99 percent of the population does not understand what has happened here. Frankly, I don’t believe the President even understands what has happened. Theses rollbacks were written by lobbyists and pushed by the EPA administrator based on promises he made. The President is clueless.

Urry: How do you think it is that Trump, or anyone in his administration for that matter, could actually want more deadly pollutants in the water supply?

Brockovich: I don’t really think he wants pollutants in our water sources. I think he is clueless and taking really bad advice.

Urry: Do they simply not understand the health implications, or is there a more sinister motive behind their actions?

Brockovich: It’s about money in politics. Big Ag paid for this batch of administration executives, and now they are cashing in. Until We the People tell them, “we know what’s up, and we won’t stand for it,” it will continue. You can’t fight what most of the people and the President don’t even understand in the first place. Most people believe the headlines they are reading today; the Trump Administration is allowing DuPont Chemical the right to dump chemicals into our water, and that just isn’t true.


Legendary Water Protector Robert Kennedy Jr. Goes in-Depth on Trump Clean Water Act Rollbacks

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – On Jan. 23, 2020, President Donald J. Trump, while undergoing an impeachment trial in the Senate, gutted the Clean Water Act (CWA), with rollbacks that some critics said take the country back to a time before Ronald Reagan. Environmental groups and media outlets went…


DuPont Poisoned 99.7% of Americans With Teflon Chemicals; Erin Brockovich, Filmmakers Fight Back

(EnviroNews USA Headline News Desk) – Nothing sticks to Teflon, but it definitely sticks to you – your organs, blood, and tissues, and your body doesn’t eliminate it easily – if at all. Documentarians Morgan Spurlock, Stephanie Soechtig, and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich have teamed up to expose this…

Chromium 6, the ‘Erin Brockovich Carcinogen,’ Now in the Drinking Water of 250m Americans, Report Reveals

(EnviroNews USA Headline News Desk) – Washington D.C. – Hexavalent chromium (chromium 6), nicknamed the “Erin Brockovich Carcinogen,” is said to “[cause] cancer when ingested at even extraordinarily low levels.” Created as a byproduct from numerous industrial activities, the substance is now in the drinking water of 250…

Stunning Report: 170m Americans Now Drinking Radioactive Water – See if Your H20 is Affected

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – More than 170 million Americans, or around 52 percent of the entire population, may be at risk of radiation exposure through their drinking water, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), one of the country’s leading water testing organizations. The EWG published its…


Remembering Rocketdyne – Discussing America’s Worst Nuclear Meltdown (Not Three Mile Island) With Erin Brockovich

(EnviroNews California) – The infamous accident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island power facility is typically the first meltdown that comes to mind when people think about nuclear disasters in America. While journalists and editors at CNN have reported it was the worst nuclear meltdown ever in the United…

California’s Top 10 Environmental Disasters Featuring Erin Brockovich

(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – While speaking with Erin Brockovich, the topic of the worst environmental disasters in California history came up. The following list of the top 10 man-made environmental disasters that California has experienced contains some disturbing information about what the government and corporations have…

Erin Brockovich Is Asked: “Why no time for environmental crime?”

(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – There have been few instances in the history of the industrial revolution where anyone has actually gone to jail for atrocities committed against the environment. It seems at least pertinent to ask: Why hasn’t anyone been put in handcuffs yet for the…

Erin Brockovich Weighs in on Fracking and Gives Praise to GasLand the Movie

(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – Erin Brockovich is a people’s champion when it comes to battling against big industrial polluters who contaminate and poison groundwater, so much so that they even made a Hollywood movie showcasing her first amazing success story in Hinkley, California. The movie, ‘Erin…

Erin Brockovich on How to Fight Back Against Big Polluters at the Local Level

(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – In this interview segment, Erin Brockovich reveals exactly what can be done at the community level to fight back against large and often irresponsible industrial polluters.

Erin Brockovich Addresses What Should Be Done Federally About the Incineration of Deadly Medical Waste

(EnviroNews California) – “How are we going to dispose of it without destroying ourselves?” This was the question posed by celebrity activist Erin Brockovich to EnviroNews California during a full-feature sit-down interview in Los Angeles. Medical waste is a topic that most people have probably given very little…

Erin Brockovich Explains Her New Environmental Battle – Stericycle and Medical Waste

(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – In a full-feature sit-down interview with EnviroNews USA Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry, celebrity activist Erin Brockovich laid down strong messages on an array of environmental topics. From fracking to nuclear meltdowns, this woman is a coast-to-coast, worldwide environmental activism powerhouse. After catapulting into…

Erin Brockovich to Concerned Residents in Stockton CA: ‘We are all one when it comes to protecting our water’

(EnviroNews California) – Stockton, CA – At a packed and emotionally charged town-hall meeting on Feb 1, 2016, in Stockton, California, celebrated environmental activist and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich addressed a crowd of over 1,200 people concerning the city’s festering water crisis. After failing a compliance test for…


Team Erin Brockovich on Stericycle: “We’re going to see some people go to jail for this!”

(EnviroNews Utah) – Concerned and downright outraged citizens congregated outside preceding a town-hall that featured freshman Republican Congressman Chris Stewart, who just also happens to be the Chair of the Congressional environmental subcommittee. The groups and individals shared a unified message that preached the same ideal from a…

Are You Cooking With Chloraminated Water? Adding Salt Could Make Chloramine 10,000X More Toxic

(EnviroNews California) – Stockton, California – As the festering water crisis in Stockton, California continues to unfurl, legendary groundwater defender and celebrity activist Erin Brockovich arrived on the scene February 1, 2016, to add her voice to the many outraged voices from the community, already calling foul. Traveling…

1 thought on “Erin Brockovich: ‘Shit Flows Downhill’: What the Trump Clean Water Act Rollbacks Really Mean”

  1. As one of the first people to fight against pollution in our rivers and streams in a series of lawsuits beginning in the 90’s with one lasting 20 years I can say because of the thousands of government and industry documents, reports, studies and testimony it all generated that its the cause for our oceans dying and a major cause of global warming. PCB laced microplastic originating in those streams have displaced 70% of phytoplankton in my lifetime. Phytoplankton is the beginning of the ocean’s food chain and is responsible for feeding billions of people but it also produces every second breath we breathe by sequestering CO2 and converting it to most of our oxygen, as it goes all life will soon follow. It’s the most serious issue facing life on earth today and it originates on our roadways, farms, cities and factories emitting into small streams.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,