Slate – “It was overshadowed among Donald Trump’s other outrageous claims in Thursday’s debate, but once again the president asserted that Americans enjoy the cleanest water in the world. “We have done an incredible job environmentally, we have the cleanest air, the cleanest water, and the best carbon emission standards that we’ve seen in many, many years,” he said. Trump habitually talks about water quality to steer environmental discussions away from his administration’s failure to contain large-scale carbon emissions and fight global climate change. Yet basic clean water and sanitation are inaccessible for 2 million Americans. The number includes 553,000 people who go unhoused in the world’s richest nation and 250,000 people in Puerto Rico, where existing inequities in access to clean water were exacerbated by Hurricane Maria, a disaster driven by climate change in which Trump’s administration mangled the federal response. Lack of clean water is a problem older than the Trump administration. In Denmark, South Carolina, the water has not been drinkable since at least 2008. Residents in Flint, Michigan, have not had clean water since 2014. The water in Pittsburgh has been contaminated since 2016. Officials in Airway Heights, Washington, discovered PFAS, which can cause cancer, in their drinking water in 2017.
But Trump’s administration has rolled back more than 70 environmental protection rules—including allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to disregard the dangers of certain toxins. (A court found this to be illegal, but environmental watchdogs say the administration has not fully shifted course.) He has weakened rules that block companies from dumping waste in local waterways. The administration has proposed giving utility companies twice as much time to remove lead piping from systems highly contaminated with lead. And Trump’s EPA diminished a portion of the Clean Water Act, clearing the way for federal agencies to provide permits for projects that don’t adhere to local water-quality requirements…”