EPA admin addresses plan to protect clean water in US

Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has outlined its plan to protect America’s clean water supply, but clean water advocates are warning of the dangers of said plans.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says he’s looking overseas for inspiration on how to protect the country’s clean water.

“They recycle between 88% and 94% of their water. Here in the U.S., we only recycle 6%. We can learn a lot from them,” Wheeler said of Israel.

During a recent trip, Wheeler learned about Israel’s efforts to address water scarcity and how U.S. technologies are helping.

“We can address the water issues in the United States with 21st-century technologies,” he added.

President Donald Trump was in California Wednesday signing an executive order to increase the amount of water available to those communities.

“Which will be a massive amount for the use of California farmers and ranchers and all of these communities that are suffering from a lack of water,” President Trump said.

In Washington, clean water advocates say the administration’s current plan focuses on the wrong issues.

“While they’re promoting all these other things going on, it’s actually a diversionary tactic,” Adam Carlesco with Food and Water Watch said.

Carlesco says President Trump’s budget actually cuts EPA funding by 11% and eliminates money for safe water programs in small and disadvantaged communities.

He also says the water needs in the U.S. are different than countries like Israel.

“We don’t need to turn to desalination – which is a large energy consumer, a large emitter of emissions – we don’t have to turn to technologies like that because we have systems that ensure we have clean drinking water accessible,” Carlesco said.

Carlesco believes the EPA needs to concentrate on keeping drinking water clean and enforcing violations.

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