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Radical Republicans are already sabotaging the next president

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Sarah Okeson
Sarah Okeson

The Trump EPA is trying to stack an advisory committee on drinking water to continue to help polluters and cost-conscious water utilities even if Trump loses in November.

The EPA is asking for nominations to fill five seats on the National Drinking Water Advisory Council for three-year terms that would start in December.

The council was created as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 signed by President Gerald Ford, but Tim Whitehouse, the executive director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said the council has traditionally been weighted in favor of local utilities and industry. He said the council needs public health advocates.

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“They’re a very conservative group by nature even pre-Trump,” Whitehouse said.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is expected to appoint the new members. The council’s new appointments under Trump have included Alexandra Campbell-Ferrari who co-founded a nonprofit that works on water security. One of the nonprofit’s directors is Roger Martella, the former EPA general counsel under George W. Bush.

Another Trump EPA appointee is James Proctor II, the senior vice president and general counsel of McWane Inc. The Birmingham, Ala.-based company was prosecuted in 2009 for environmental crimes and pleaded guilty to nine felony charges of knowingly violating the Clean Water Act.

Under Obama, the council created a workgroup that adopted proposals to weaken the Lead and Copper Rule, published in 1991, which is supposed to minimize lead and copper in our nation’s drinking water. The current requirements under the Lead and Copper rule are so weak that they didn’t raise a concern about Flint, Mich. where more than 8,600 children were supplied lead-contaminated water for 18 months.

An estimated 15 million to 22 million people, or 5% to 7.5% of our nation’s population, drink water delivered through lead pipes. There are no safe levels of lead in drinking water. Low levels of exposure to lead in children are linked to hyperactivity, anemia, lower IQs, physical and learning disabilities and slowed growth.

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EPA scientists and experts were excluded from the workgroup. The council adopted recommendations designed by utility employees working with the American Water Works Association, an industry lobbying group. Water utilities did not want to pay for replacing lead pipes on private property.

The new rule would keep the lead concentration of more than 15 parts per billion, a level that doesn’t protect human health, as the level where utilities are required to address corrosion in water pipes. The new rule would also slow the rate of replacing lead pipes, cutting it in half, from 7% of lead pipes a year to 3% for each utility with lead levels over the action limit.

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2020 Election

Montana GOP ticket sidelined after exposure to COVID-positive Trump, Jr. girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle: report

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The Montana Republican Party is facing a crisis after multiple members of the ticket were potentially exposed to COVID-19.

"Montana gubernatorial candidate Rep. Greg Gianforte and his running mate, Kristen Juras, confirmed Saturday they will self-quarantine after Gianforte's wife, Susan, and Juras attended an event last week with Kimberly Guilfoyle, who has since tested positive for COVID-19," KBZK-TV reported Saturday.

Gianforte is currently Montana's lone congressional representative. He is not running for reelection as he's running for governor. In June, the Montana GOP nominated State Auditor Matt Rosendale to replace him.

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2020 Election

Trump’s presidency has accelerated the predicted collapse of the Republican Party: columnist

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Citing the work of a University of a Washington political scientist, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank said Donald Trump and his racist rhetoric has accelerated the decline of the Republican party in a country that is seeing major demographic changes and because white voters are increasingly turned off by it.

As Milbank wrote, four years ago Christopher Parker, who is Black, predicted a Trump candidacy would "do more to advance racial understanding than the election of Barack Obama.”

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2020 Election

Trump and his lackeys are too delusional to turn around their flailing campaign

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

When pundits point out that with four months to go until Election Day, it isn't too late for Trump to turn his campaign around, what they're really saying is that there's sufficient time left on the calendar for a candidate who grasped why he or she was losing to change course and abandon a clearly failing strategy.

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