×

Mayor’s costly decision may gut Clean Water Act

Mayor Michael Victorino repeated false Trump talking points that the Maui injection well case will expand the reach of the Clean Water Act. In fact, EPA administrators under three former presidents issued a brief stating that Maui County and Trump seek to reverse decades of precedent protecting clean water in America.

Those who benefit from a Victorino and Trump victory in this case are historically the biggest polluters in America. Pro-appeal briefs were filed by the American Petroleum Institute (650 oil and gas companies), National Mining Association (coal, etc.), Energy Transfer Partners (Standing Rock infamy), and the anti-environment, pro-segregationist Pacific Legal Foundation (Philip Morris Tobacco, Exxon, etc.).

Victorino’s justifications do not hold water. The settlement initially required $2.5 million to improve wastewater treatment and pay a $100,000 fine. Victorino claimed costs of $800 million. He added $125 million each to build ocean outfalls at multiple facilities, something the Sierra Club website states “no one is asking for.” He exaggerated fines.

Maui County approved spending $4.3 million on outside counsel for the appeal. Now there’s costly negative publicity for Maui where tourism earned $5.07 billion in 2018, equaling $30,478 per resident.

The mayor fabricates that settling could impact private property owners. The NPPES permits are not required by individual property owners.

I believe that Victorino’s PR campaign to suddenly co-opt others’ ideas and sue the petroleum industry is another smokescreen, distracting from his gutting the Clean Water Act on their behalf.

Chandrika McLaughlin

Kihei