Art by Eric Rewitzer
When Trump took office, California promised a wall of resistance against his Administration and federal rollbacks of keystone laws that protect our health and environment. Gavin Newsom promised bold leadership in California’s fight against Trump. In Newsom’s words, “People’s lives, freedom, security, the water we drink, the air we breathe – they all hang in the balance. The county is watching us. We will offer an alternative to the corruption and incompetence in the White House.”
And what corruption and incompetence we’ve seen come out of Washington.
The Trump Administration has directly attacked the federal Clean Water Act – the foundational law that protects water quality throughout our nation. Just last week, the Trump Administration announced its formal repeal of the 2015 clean water rule, severely limiting the scope of Clean Water Act protections for vulnerable streams and wetlands. This rollback is the latest in an onslaught of actions taken by the Trump Administration to weaken or undo our foundational environmental laws.
This summer alone the Trump Administration has suppressed and ignored science – science conducted by federal agencies – to circumvent California’s careful management of Central Valley rivers and streams. Trump also announced drastic rollbacks to the Endangered Species Act, clearing the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and other development in critical habitat that threatened species call home.
On Friday, the California Legislature passed SB 1 as a safety net against the chaotic and uninformed decisions made by Trump. Critically, SB 1 will require the federal government to comply with California’s stringent state-based endangered species act and other environmental laws – ultimately allowing California to maintain its authority over water management decisions and other critical tools that preserve California’s ecosystems and the health of every California community.
With a President that has taken strides to dismantle common sense protections for our environment and public health, it falls to states like California to defend our clean air, water, and communities. It’s also time to end the old rhetoric of “farms against environmentalists” and recognize that California’s communities rely on healthy ecosystems and sound water management decisions.
California’s Legislature has stepped up to resist Trump. We are so proud of Senator Atkins for the courageous leadership she showed late Friday night and into the wee hours Saturday morning. She’s restored a faith that politicians can stand up for what’s right. Now the question is whether Governor Newsom will do the same. Will he keep his promises of Trump resistance, or will he join Trump and support unscientific rollbacks by caving to the political pressure from those benefiting from Trump’s actions?