EPA Issues Violation against San Francisco, but Local Officials Deny the Claims
Trump’s EPA recently accused San Francisco of violating the Clean Water Act. Not only do local officials deny the claims, but they said it’s a fraudulent attack from Trump on the Democratic California state.
The Trump versus California feud is nothing new. Recently, the Trump administration added fuel to the fire when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice accusing San Francisco of violating the Clean Water Act.
A couple weeks ago, President Trump warned of a potential violation notice on the city, saying it was allowing human waste and needles to go through storm drains into the Pacific Ocean and thereby violating the federal act. City officials have fervently denied these claims.
Harlan Kelly, Jr., the city’s general manager of Public Utilities Commission, received a letter from the EPA identifying violations in the city and county’s wastewater treatment and sewer system. Noted violations included a lack of proper operation and maintenance that allowed raw and partially-treated sewage to be discharged onto beaches into the ocean and sometimes residential streets and homes.
The letter also claimed that some discharges contained heavy metals and bacteria, and that San Francisco has not kept up proper cleaning, inspection, and repair systems or properly reported or issued public warnings for these contaminated diversions.
Trump’s EPA has had its eye on California for a while, and the state has routinely called the EPA’s claims misleading and false. This letter is the latest in the bitter relationship between Trump’s EPA and the blue state, which has filed over 50 lawsuits opposing Trump initiatives on the environment, immigration, and health care.
Mayor London Breed said the violation notice contains “mischaracterizations, inaccuracies and falsehoods” and the city’s sewer system is one of the most effective in the country. “No debris flow out into the (San Francisco) Bay or the ocean,” Breed said in a statement, adding that San Francisco has a multibillion-dollar program to upgrade its sewage treatment system.
Still, the EPA holds its ground. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newson last week saying alleging waste left by people experiencing homelessness in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles was not being properly handled. Wheeler’s letter does not outline any specific possible disciplinary actions; however, it did contain a veiled warning that the EPA holds the power to seek fines and penalties through administration, civil, or criminal actions over the violations.
Read the NBC news article on the topic for more information on the growing hostility between the EPA and the state of California. Tensions do not seem to be going away anytime soon.