Reader Opinion: Stauber’s ‘victory’
I was disappointed to read Congressman Stauber’s gloating report in the Jan. 26 Dispatch about his assistance to President Trump in the repeal of revisions to the 1972 Clean Water Act. This legislation had been enacted during the previous administration in 2015, with support from conservation-minded citizens, elected officials interested in clean water and thousands of fishery scientists.
As a result of this repeal, many headwater streams and millions of acres of seasonal wetlands will be vulnerable to damage from logging, mining, agricultural activities and development. Stauber and other politicians have argued that such regulations cut into the profits of these industries. But eliminating the standards threatens to damage water quality and natural resources already stressed by industry and development.
Headwater streams and associated wetlands contribute in important ways to the physical and biological integrity of downstream waters, including major rivers, lakes and, eventually, estuaries. Scientific investigations demonstrate how these small or temporary waters contribute to the integrity and security of our drinking water, public health, fisheries and wildlife habitat. This repeal also may increase the risks and costs associated with future floods and storm damage.
The long record of industry abuses indicates a need for strict regulation of manufacturing and agricultural industries, as well as municipalities and developers to protect human health and natural resources. Increased occurrence of polluted drinking water suggests standards and regulations should be stricter, not looser. Nitrates and pesticides from farming activities have infiltrated groundwater and fouled water supplies, while legally and illegally dumped chemicals increase cases of cancer, birth defects and other serious health problems. Short-sighted thinking and disregard for scientific information in the fields of geology, biology, chemistry and hydrology threaten the foundations upon which the resources of this state depend.
Hopefully, citizens and those running for office will carefully consider these threats.