On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13777. Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda created a task force and regulatory reform officer at each federal agency. These task forces are responsible for going through existing regulations in order to determine which regulations can be repealed, replaced, or modified.
In keeping with this executive order, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked for comments by the public on what regulations are in need of repeal, replacement, or modification. By the time the comment period closed on May 15th, the EPA had received more than 55,000 responses (up to over 70,000 as of the writing of this article). Americans wrote in asking the EPA to not undo the environmental safeguards.
EPA also held a “virtual listening session” on May 2nd, during which environmental groups and concerned citizens alike called in to urge the agency to keep the protections for clean water and air. KWA’s Executive Director, Ward Wilson, was one of 150 lucky people who had the chance to call in to the listening session and submitted the following comments:
“Greetings from Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby and Bourbon Capital of the World! Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Kentucky Waterways Alliance works to protect, restore, and celebrate the waterways of our great Commonwealth. We look to USEPA to set a “floor” of standards that we apply locally. Water regulations do impose some costs in time and money, but their benefits are even greater. All along the Ohio River, our state’s northern border, cities use the river for drinking water, recreation, and economic development – all of which are possible because the river is now much cleaner than it was before 1972. Let’s work together in a meaningful, inclusive process to make regulations work better to achieve their objectives, not lose the gains we already have won through hard work and expense.
Remember, when you are watching the Derby this Saturday, those mint juleps are made with clean water. Thank you.”
In addition to Ward’s call in comments, Ward and our Water Policy Director, Bijaya Shrestha, submitted comments into the discussion’s chat. KWA also submitted a comment letter to the EPA, urging the agency to not roll back the environmental protections that have been vital and effective in providing safeguards to communities in Kentucky. KWA also sent out an Action Alert to our members, asking them to send a comment letter to the EPA. Additionally, KWA signed on to comment letters by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council.