Trump directs EPA to begin dismantling clean water rule

President Trump stepped up his attack on federal environmental protections Tuesday, issuing an order directing his administration to begin the long process of rolling back sweeping clean water rules that were enacted by his predecessor.

The order directing the Environmental Protection Agency to set about dismantling the Waters of the United States rule takes aim at one of President Obama’s signature environmental legacies, a far-reaching anti-pollution effort that expanded the authority of regulators over the nation’s waterways and wetlands.

The contentious rule had been fought for years by farmers, ranchers, real estate developers and others, who complained it invited heavy-handed bureaucrats to burden their businesses with onerous restrictions and fines for minor violations.

Obama’s EPA argued that such claims were exaggerated and misrepresented the realities of the enforcement process of a rule that promised to create substantially cleaner waterways, and with them healthier habitats for threatened species of wildlife.

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The real goal of Trump’s executive orders: Reduce the number of immigrants in the U.S.

Behind President Trump’s efforts to step up deportations and block travel from seven mostly Muslim countries lies a goal that reaches far beyond any immediate terrorism threat: a desire to reshape American demographics for the long term and keep out people who Trump and senior aides believe will not assimilate.

In pursuit of that goal, Trump in his first weeks in office has launched the most dramatic effort in decades to reduce the country’s foreign-born population and set in motion what could become a generational shift in the ethnic makeup of the U.S.

Trump and top aides have become increasingly public about their underlying pursuit, pointing to Europe as an example of what they believe is a dangerous path that Western nations have taken. Trump believes European governments have foolishly allowed Muslims with extreme views to settle in their countries, sowing seeds for unrest and recruitment by terrorist groups.

The two men see the country’s long-term security and wage growth entwined with reducing the number of foreign-born people allowed to visit, immigrate and work in the U.S.

Nations, including the U.S., are undermined by too high a level of diversity, Bannon has argued.

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Politics speak at numerous volumes on Oscar night

America has been divided for months by brutal political tactics and outspoken animus. But on Sunday, as it stepped onto its biggest stage, the entertainment industry took another approach in its war against President Trump.

It decided to show rather than tell.

The verbal ripostes at the Academy Awards were less pointed than might have been expected after a campaign season marked by lopsided Hollywood support of Trump’s opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and angry objections to Trump’s early presidential moves by the liberals who dominate the community.

MORE: Oscars 2017 updates »

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This New York cow town loves Trump, but talking politics can get you tossed from the only bar

They were not exactly a rowdy bunch. The youngest at the table was a 47-year-old town supervisor, seated with her 10-year-old son; the others were retirees. 

They had just ordered a round of drinks, and were in the process of telling a reporter and videographer how much they loved Donald Trump when the manager of the bar came up and requested in not-exactly printable terms that they leave immediately.

“Get your show out of here,’’ is the expurgated version of what he said to a local Republican politician who had organized the gathering at this town’s only bar.

“I guess he’s not on the Trump train,” Suzanne Aldinger, a retired county employee and Republican committee member, said with a sigh after the group shuffled out of the bar and settled into a barbecue restaurant a few doors down.

Yet fault lines run through many families. Walt’s brother, 63-year-old Charles McCormick, is active in Democratic Party politics, and in fact ran against Vanessa, his sister-in-law, in 2013 for the position of town supervisor.

He believes that Trump’s policies are going to hurt the farmers by cutting off their supply of immigrant labor and limiting the overseas markets for dairy goods. During a meeting at the local firehouse last week of several hundred farmers attending a training session about pesticides, arguments broke out about Trump.

“It didn’t get to the brawling point, but there were a lot of bad words back and forth and about Trump,’’ he said.

“We are extremely divided now, just like the rest of the country,’’ said Cindy Appleton, chairwoman of the Wyoming County Democratic Party and deputy mayor of Warsaw. She said many older, traditional Republicans are discreetly expressing concern. “These people are conservative, but they still watch CNN and read the New York Times, and they know what is going on. They wanted change, but not this much change.’’

Her Republican counterpart, James Schlick, doesn’t dispute that some are concerned.  “I think I’m still Trump’s core supporter, but I got a little nervous when I saw that yesterday,’’ said Schlick, speaking the day after Trump’s freewheeling, rambunctious, 77-minute news conference on Feb. 16.

The bar Aldinger and her friends got kicked out of is owned by a former Republican town official, and used to be the gathering place for party meetings. It is run nowadays by his daughter and son-in-law, who are both registered Republicans. But they’ve stopped allowing political events, especially not events covered by the media — not with this much discord in town.

“It was going to look like a little Trump nest, like we support his views. And we definitely don’t support his views,’’ said manager Tom Streamer, apologizing for booting the group out earlier.

He asked that the name of the bar not be published, but admitted it might be too late. “Everybody in town now knows who we are.’’      

barbara.demick@latimes.com

Twitter: @BarbaraDemick

 

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Trump’s top deputies hope to shore up ties with a suspicious Mexico

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Mexico City on Wednesday on a mission to mend deeply frayed relations with the United States’ southern neighbor.

John F. Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security, was expected to join him later in the day in a bid to repair the once-close relationship, which began deteriorating when President Trump repeatedly criticized Mexico during his election campaign.

Days after he took office, Trump argued on Twitter with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto over Trump’s demand that Mexico pay billions of dollars to build a massive wall along the border. The Mexican leader rebuffed Trump by canceling a planned visit to the White House.

Tillerson and Kelly will sit down with Peña Nieto on Thursday as well as with Mexico’s secretaries of foreign affairs, the interior, finance, national defense and Navy. In addition to the wall, they are expected to discuss trade, counter-terrorism, immigration and other key bilateral concerns.

“We have been cooperating with United States for many years on these issues, because they asked us to, and because we have a friendly, trustful relationship,” former Mexican Foreign Secretary Jorge Castañeda  recently told CNN. “If that relationship disappears, the reasons for cooperation also disappear.”

There seems to be little space for common ground, however.

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