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Feb. 28, 2017

Conflicted Golfer-in-Chief Takes Aim at Clean Water Rule; For-Profit Presidency Must End

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today aimed at killing the Clean Water Rule issued under the Obama administration. The golf course industry opposes the rule.

The golf course industry has been a longtime shrill opponent of the Clean Water Rule (also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule).

Now comes the nation’s golfer-in-chief, President Donald Trump – who happens to own or brand golf courses in Florida (two), New York (three), New Jersey (two), Virginia (outside Washington, D.C.), California, North Carolina and Pennsylvania – to aid his industry and himself by moving to repeal the Clean Water Rule.

The stakes are high with the Clean Water Rule, which aims to enhance the cleanliness and health of our nation’s waters. It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this objective. Almost one in three Americans – roughly 117 million people – get their drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection before issuance of the Clean Water Rule.

It is unlikely that a conflicted President Trump will acknowledge the purpose of the Clean Water Rule, its significance for the health of millions of Americans, the extraordinarily lengthy process to develop the rule involving elaborate consultations with affected stakeholders, or the fact that the rule itself is actually a relatively modest measure to clarify application of the Clean Water Act.

Those are not the kinds of things you think about when you and your cronies have an interest that runs afoul of the health of millions.

President Trump’s pervasive conflicts will have a pervasive and profound impact on policymaking in America. Unless and until he sells his family business, we’re going to see policy designed to help his business operations at the expense of American well-being. It’s time for the for-profit presidency to end.

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