As Trump Endangers U.S. Water,
Canada Must Protect Its Own Before America Comes Knocking
By Terri Chu
President Drumpf has made clear that he cares not one wit for environmental protection. He wants to strengthen businesses and let them be free to do business in a free market environment. Judging by Beijing’s air pollution, it should be the best city in the world to live in, according to his standards.
This new administration plans to make America great again by going back to a time when an Ohio river was so polluted it could be set on fire. Within a week of taking office, Trump has cleared the path to endanger drinking water supplies in North Dakota and dealt a blow to the EPA. Now, a Florida congressman is proposing a bill to abolish the EPA altogether. If the Florida congressman is successful, there’s not much left protecting American drinking water for future use. Measures to protect coal mining debris from being dumped into streams have also been rescinded. Water has never been more stressed in the United States.
Canada should not wait until our neighbours are so thirsty they come knocking. We must strengthen our laws to protect our own freshwater resources and make sure the shared resources, like the Great Lakes, are protected. If the EPA falls, there will be very little we can do to protect the common bodies of water, but we can protect those that are in Canada. Moreover, we must prohibit the bulk export of water.
These laws need to be put in place now, with foresight, and not as a reactionary measure when the time comes. Canada must take steps to preserve what resources are left, both above and below ground.
Water usage must be better regulated than it is now, and bottling companies and golf courses should not be allowed to draw water millions of litres of water for a pittance.
Bottling Canadian water should be banned, period. We have the cleanest, safest water in the world flowing freely from our taps, and there is absolutely no reason it needs to be put into a plastic bottle, with very little safety oversight, and sold at substantial markups. In the very least, the plastic waste generated from the process needs to be taxed heavily and its disposal not subsidized by taxpayers. Labatt demonstrated during the Fort MacMurray fires how quickly it can bottle water in times of emergency. Aluminum is at least recyclable. There really is no need to pollute the planet with waste water bottles.
The furor Nestle caused over outbidding a municipality for water access is a drop in the bucket compared to the need to keep 350 million people hydrated after they have devastated their own water supplies.
Water is a tricky issue, as the jurisdictional line between provincial and federal responsibilities is murky. By comparison, the EPA provided strong legal protection for drinking water in the United States. As those protections fade, Canada must be prepared to protect our own resources, no matter how abundant they might seem now.
We are Canadians, we open our doors to those in need, but that does not include those who recklessly destroy their own resources in the name of profits, then come marching after ours.
Being environmental stewards means we also know when to say no.
Terri Chu is an expert in energy systems, with a Masters in Engineering specializing in urban energy systems. Terri founded the grassroots organization "Why Should I Care", a not for profit dedicated to engaging people on issues of public policy.