The latest victim of the Trump Administration assault on the environment is the Clean Water Rule. Yep, that’s right, the EPA rescinded its own rule protecting waters of the United States, especially drinking water sources. This action was taken despite voluminous comments, APCC’s included, that cited why eliminating protections would be both bad for the environment and public health. EPA again ignored comments that were contrary to their set agenda, and the rule was rescinded.

The repeal of the Clean Water Rule is the latest, but certainly not the last anti-environment measure we can expect. Public comments counter to their anti-environment agenda do not seem to be considered by the Administration. While it’s easy and justified to feel discouraged about not being able to have any influence over the actions of the Administration, there is a better lesson to take from our current reality.

While the reduction in protection to water resources is real on the national level, local decisions made by municipal government on Cape Cod will be what determines our own water quality. Town actions, or the lack thereof, on drinking water protection, pond protection and estuarine nutrient management will tell the tale of our future. Towns act on these environmental issues when, and because, individual voters exert themselves and make them a priority. Elected officials will fall in line with the will of the voters.

While seemingly powerless at the federal level to influence decision making, environmentally conscious voters hold all the cards here on Cape Cod. So yes, feel lousy about what is happening federally because it is truly awful, but take the emotion and channel it to act locally. The residents of Cape Cod have the power to improve water quality locally, but to make the change happen, you have to demand it of your selectmen and town councilors. Soon, towns will be making decisions on budgets and town meeting warrants for next year. Go to your next selectmen or town council meeting and tell them you expect water quality to be a priority next year. Do it. You have power if you choose to use it.