The Stream, November 10: Donald Trump Administration Could Weaken U.S. Water Protections

The Global Rundown

Water protections in the United States could be at risk under Donald Trump’s administration, though the president-elect has also promised to boost infrastructure spending. Environmental groups sued Minnesota over an iron ore mine that they argue is flouting the Clean Water Act. Queensland passed a law requiring mining companies to have permits for groundwater withdrawals. Haiti kicked off a major campaign to provide cholera vaccinations. The first “Action Day for Water” was held at the United Nations climate talks in Morocco. Protests in the Niger Delta shut down an oil facility owned by Royal Dutch Shell. Scientists discovered a large, subterranean “lake” below a dormant volcano in Bolivia. Researchers plan to map the underground water networks that produce hot springs and geysers in Yellowstone National Park.

“Water is not only a problem but it is part of the solution.” –Charafat Afailal, Morocco’s water minister, speaking to the press on the Action Day for Water at the United Nations COP 22 in Marrakech. It is the first time a day at the U.N. climate talks has been dedicated entirely to action on water issues. (UN News Service)

By The Numbers

820,000 people Number Haiti hopes to reach with a large campaign to provide residents with cholera vaccinations. The country’s cholera outbreak worsened in the wake of Hurricane Matthew last month. Reuters

8 days Number since the beginning of a protest in the Niger Delta region that forced Royal Dutch Shell to close one of its crude oil flow stations on Wednesday. Demonstrators from local communities said the company has not done enough to provide services including water, electricity, and roads. Reuters

3 environmental groups Number in Minnesota that filed a lawsuit Wednesday, arguing that the state’s Pollution Control Agency is not doing enough to ensure the Minntac iron ore mine complies with the Clean Water Act. MPR News

1,000 degrees Celsius Temperature of a partially molten rock formation beneath a Bolivian volcano, where scientists discovered an amount of water equivalent to that in Lake Superior. Researchers believe stores of water like this are a factor in the mechanics and timing of volcanic eruptions. Science Daily

Science, Studies, And Reports

Using an airborne electromagnetic system, scientists this month plan to trace the networks of hot water underlying Yellowstone National Park. The team hopes the maps will provide a more detailed understanding of the park’s iconic geysers, as well as help predict where “hydrothermal explosions” might occur. Associated Press

On The Radar

Queensland passed legislation that will ensure mining companies acquire permits before they can withdraw groundwater, blocking previous attempts to get rid of permit requirements. Nonetheless, the law is unlikely to have much effect on the controversial Carmichael coal mine because it places some limits on public challenges. ABC

The administration of Donald Trump, the U.S. president-elect, could roll back protections for water and reduce regulations on the mining, farming, and fossil fuel industries. At the same time, Trump has promised to devote funding to refurbish the nation’s infrastructure, including water systems. Bloomberg