Trump does care about the environment after all!
When I saw the headline, I thought this was a satirical piece, but it’s real.
Homelessness is a tragic problem that urgently needs to be addressed, but Trump’s remarks here are patently absurd – as well as factually incorrect. Falsely claiming that needles are flowing into San Francisco bay is not helpful to anyone and gets us no closer to a solution.
President Trump said late Wednesday that his administration would issue a notice of environmental violation against the city of San Francisco because of what he described as its homelessness problem.
Traveling aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington from a three-day trip to California and New Mexico, Mr. Trump told reporters that San Francisco was in “total violation” of environmental rules because of used needles that were ending up in the ocean.
“They’re in total violation — we’re going to be giving them a notice very soon,” the president said, indicating that the city could be put on notice by the Environmental Protection Agency within a week that its homelessness problem was causing environmental damage.
He said tremendous pollution was flowing into the ocean because of waste in storm sewers, and he specifically cited used needles.
“They’re in serious violation,” Mr. Trump said, adding, “They have to clean it up. We can’t have our cities going to hell.”
San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, called Mr. Trump’s comments “ridiculous.”
“To be clear, San Francisco has a combined sewer system, one of the best and most effective in the country, that ensures that all debris that flow into storm drains are filtered out at the city’s wastewater treatment plants,” Ms. Breed said in a statement Wednesday night. “No debris flow out into the bay or the ocean.”
President Trump said Wednesday his administration will issue San Francisco an environmental violation notice within a week for polluting the ocean with needles and other waste via the city’s sewer system — but city officials said such waste is unlikely to get into the ocean through the city’s grated drains.
Storm drain runoff is piped to one of two city treatment facilities, the Southeast Treatment Plant in the Bayview neighborhood or the Oceanside Treatment Plant near the zoo. Any pollutants would be treated at those points if they haven’t already been filtered out at catch basins beneath city streets, according to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
“We haven’t had any (recent) problems with syringes,” said SFPUC spokesman Tyler Gamble.
Jennifer Friedenbach, head of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, said she found Trump’s comments on homelessness and trash ironic.
“He is literally the one person who could singlehandedly address this crisis - he could restore the massive cuts to HUD funding made decades ago instead of making massive investments in the military, for instance,” she said.
Friedenbach’s organization led protests in the city over the visit Tuesday to a public housing project by federal Department of Housing and Urban Development chief Ben Carson, saying he and Trump were distorting the area’s homeless situation and exacerbating, rather than helping, it. The president’s comments Wednesday were an extension of the same destructiveness, she said.
“Instead, he is throwing blame in every direction, not taking responsibility for a crisis that lays squarely on his shoulders,” she said. “It’s in his classic toddler fashion.”