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The EPA Keeps Going After California. Trump Wants To Blame Homeless People.

The EPA’s letter alleged that raw sewage had made its way onto streets and beaches.

by Emma Ockerman
Oct 3 2019, 5:34pm

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The Trump administration, once again, ramped up its war with California by lodging an environmental complaint on Wednesday against San Francisco’s wastewater treatment and sewage systems.

The EPA’s letter, which accused the city of violating the federal Clean Water Act, didn’t mention homelessness, specifically, but alleged that raw sewage had made its way onto streets and beaches. Just last week, the EPA had issued another complaint against the entire state of California, which warned that waste from homeless people, like syringes and poop, could pollute the Pacific Ocean.

President Donald Trump also put San Francisco, in particular, on blast last month when he said he believed homeless people were ruining the city’s “best highways,” “best streets,” and “best entrances to buildings.”

Wednesday’s letter mostly centered around allegations that the city hasn’t maintained the government’s standards on maintenance, reporting, and pollution control. Failing to address those issues could result in administrative, civil, or criminal penalties.

San Francisco does have a problem with excrement on the streets, but it’s not at all clear the waste is making its way into the ocean. San Francisco Mayor London Breed has repeatedly said the environmental claims against her city are bogus and disputed the Trump administration’s claim. And she maintained her position that the city’s water is safe Wednesday.

“The notice of violation issued today contained a series of mischaracterizations, inaccuracies and falsehoods, and is the latest example of the Trump administration’s attack on our city and our state,” Breed said in a statement.

Plus, San Francisco's water system has had problems in the past, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The EPA expressed concerns about the city’s record-keeping practices and its sewer system in 2015 after certain neighborhoods experienced flooding. City officials are now in the middle of upgrading the sewer system and have said they’re working with the EPA.

"The same Trump EPA that’s dismantling environmental protections is now making false claims about San Francisco’s sewer system — a model of sustainability,” state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, wrote in a tweet.

Cover image: President Donald Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then on to Florida. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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