With an avalanche of news related to the coronavirus saturating media these days, it is not surprising that several of President Donald Trump’s rollbacks of Obama-era environmental protection policies have escaped the notice of the general public.
That was the recent case with the Trump administration’s move in the last month to throw out the Obama-era Clean Water Rule, which provided robust protections for wetlands and seasonal streams under the Clean Water Act. In its place, many experts believe, is a dangerously weaker version.
Two organizations that did, however, take notice was the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and ShoreRivers. Even as COVID-19 disrupts the work of both groups, they have teamed up to sue the Trump administration. This week they formally filed with the District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, to prohibit what they consider to be a dangerous and unwarranted redefinition of water systems. They contend this new language will strip critical protections for wetlands and streams across the Bay’s 64,000 square-mile watershed.
Yesterday, the Spy talked with Alan Girard, Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Eastern Shore director, and Jeff Horstman, ShoreRivers’ executive director, to get a much more clear understanding of what’s at stake, and what will be lost if this new Trump definition is adopted.