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New York Waterways could be At Risk for Pollution from Trump Clean Water Rule Changes

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Many of New York's streams and wetlands are now at risk for pollution after President Trump lifted provisions of the Clean Water Rule. Environmental advocates are expressing concerns about the possible contamination that could result.

Environmental Advocates of New York Director Maureen Cunningham is worried about the future of wetlands, lakes, and streams. 

"When a stream is protected under a regulatory system, any kind of dumping or discharges would have to be regulated."

Now, that's not the case. With President Trump's repeal, the number of protected waters has decreased. Obama-era regulations increased protections for smaller wetlands and streams, which the EPA formally struck down last week. Cunningham believes New York's drinking water, tourism, and economy are at risk because of harm to important bodies of water used for drinking and recreation. 

"If we're not protecting the headwater streams and the smaller streams that are running into those bigger waters, it doesn't really matter because the pollution and contamination can still get in."

Their worry is that wetlands and other smaller waterways could be developed over or fall victim to industrial pollution. Cunningham notes new legislation at the state level would increase protections for miles and miles of unprotected freshwater bodies now threatened by the federal rule changes. 

Find out more about the Clean Water Rule here.