Georgia Congressmen have been fighting against Obama’s Clean Water Rule since it was introduced. Some are applauding Trump’s decision to repeal it. However, repealing the Clean Water Rule is a short-sighted decision that puts profits ahead of Georgia’s citizens’ and environmental health.
Even with former President Obama’s Clean Water Rule, Georgia’s waters have continued to take a beating. In 2015 alone, Georgia experienced 557 chemical spills. It’s safe to say that without the Clean Water Rule, the chemical spills will only increase.
In 2016, the Apollo Technologies chemical spill in Smyrna made headlines when it turned an entire waterway an opaque white color. From 1996 to 2016, the Colonial Pipeline negligently spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of gasoline in Georgia and Alabama. Most recently, Hercules, Inc. has poured toxic, carcinogenic pesticides into Brunswick properties and waterways.
Because of the Clean Water Rule the EPA has been able to hold these companies accountable when they dump toxic, cancer-causing chemicals into Georgia waterways. But even that has clearly not been enough, because it keeps happening.
In the case of the Colonial Pipeline, businesses are choosing to save money by continuing to use old, damaged equipment. In addition to the chemical spill, Colonial Pipeline’s negligence caused an explosion that killed one of their employees. Fumes were so bad around the creeks that had been affected that it was deemed unsafe for humans to be near them.
In the cases of both the Apollo Technologies spill and Hercules, Inc spill, the companies responsible tried to cover up their spills, rather than accept accountability and clean up their mess. By doing that, they show not only a negligence for the environment but also a lack of respect for human life.
These examples of companies’ lack of responsibility surrounding chemical spills show how necessary it is to have laws like Obama’s Clean Water Rule. Corporations are concerned about only profit and they do not care how they affect the world around them or the individuals in it. If we want Georgia to continue to be a livable place where crops and livestock can grow, where children can play outside and be healthy, we need to set firmer environmental regulations and hold offenders accountable.