In the halls of Washington and on sprawling farms and ranches, in courtrooms and corporate boardrooms, a legal tug of war has unfolded over a 2015 rule that gave the Environmental Protection Agency much broader authority over the nation’s waterways. Critics say the Obama rule gave the federal government far too much power; supporters countered it would prevent the loss of vast swaths of wetlands. Court rulings have temporarily blocked the regulation in 28 states, while keeping it in effect in 22 others.
On Thursday, the Trump administration plans to scrap the Obama-era definition of what qualifies as “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, returning the country to standards put in place in 1986…
…critics say the rollback will speed the conversion of wetlands and headwaters, which provide critical habitat for wildlife and support the nation’s drinking water supply. Americans drained about half of the 220 million acres of wetlands in the contiguous United States between the 1780s and 1980s, most of it to expand farmland. That rate began to slow after George H.W. Bush took office, pledging to stem the tide of wetlands loss.
► As CBS4 Denver reports, Colorado Democrats are leading the charge in Washington D.C. in pushing for new gun safety regulations:
Congressman Joe Neguse said he favors changes to federal law, and hopes Republicans will too.
“If my colleagues are serious about addressing gun violence, about addressing suicide — Colorado happens to have the 10th highest rate of suicides in the United States, 50% of those involve a firearm — if my colleagues are serious about that, I would hope that they would join us tonight in supporting this bill so that we can finally do something about the pervasive gun violence that is ravaging communities across our country,” he said during Tuesday’s hearing.
While the bills have support in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, there’s an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate. President Donald Trump at first seemed to favor some changes in gun laws several weeks ago, but it’s unclear where he stands now.
► Ten Democratic candidates for President will take to the debate stage tonight in Houston, Texas. The New York Times previews the big show.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► The House Judiciary Committee has approved guidelines for discussions around impeachment hearings against President Trump.
► As Aldo Svaldi writes for the Denver Post, Coloradans are finding increasing problems with Trump’s trade war:
Colorado’s hit from higher Chinese tariffs is estimated at $562 million, on par with that projected for Kansas and Utah, according to Howmuch.net. Texas, by contrast, is looking at a $10.6 billion in impacts because of higher tariffs on its products, and California at $13.4 billion.
But importers and not just exporters are getting zinged. Xero Shoes in Broomfield has seen U.S. tariffs on the shoes it brings in from manufacturing plants in China rise from 23.5% to 52.5%, including a 15% hike at the start of September…
…Jerry Zink, owner of the custom meatpacker Sunnyside Meats in Durango, said he can’t even give cattle hides away and is sickened at the thought of having to put them into a landfill.
“I would give someone hides for free for a year just to get them started in business, just to build some kind of market,” he said.
► And then there was…one. The Colorado Independent reports on the last active recall attempt in Colorado, targeting Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo. All four attempts to recall Democratic lawmakers in Colorado have failed this year, but organizers have accomplished one thing: Driving a massive wedge inside the Colorado Republican Party. Republicans are hurting each other much more than they are harming any Democrat.
► As Marshall Zelinger reports for 9News, two mysterious donors who covered the costs for security at a fundraiser for Vice President Mike Pence in Aspen have been identified:
It’s common for local law enforcement to help the U.S. Secret Service protect the president or, as we saw in Colorado in July, the vice president.
What’s not so common is how the security tab from that day was reimbursed to Pitkin County and the sheriff, Joe Disalvo…
…DiSalvo had trouble finding the host of the party, but ultimately got paid last month.
“I don’t know who really invited Mr. Pence here, I just know who paid us for his visit,” said DiSalvo. “We got paid in two checks by two donors that preferred to be anonymous.”
Except they’re no longer anonymous because of public records. Next with Kyle Clark submitted a public records request and received a copy of the $9,087.50 checks from Mark Horace Love and E G Kendrick. Kendrick is the managing partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Usually, we don’t have this much trouble. And we do ask way in advance, so it doesn’t usually come as a surprise to the hosts,” said DiSalvo.
Both Kendrick and Love appear to be from Arizona.
► The Denver Post reports on how Colorado’s leaders commemorated the 9/11 anniversary on Wednesday.
► The federal government may soon ban flavored e-cigarettes in order to slow the alarming rise in serious health problems for heavy vapers — particularly teenagers. State lawmakers are considering a proposal to raise the legal age to purchase e-cigarettes from 18 to 21.
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) appears to be completely unable to answer direct questions with simple answers. It’s a very bad look for a guy running for re-election in 2020.
► Politico tries to read the tea leaves to predict who might become President Trump’s fourth National Security Adviser.
► Perdue Pharma has reached a tentative agreement with several states over lawsuits surrounding the opioid crisis, but Colorado is not among them.
► You can no longer get married in Colorado if you are under the age of 16.
► Colorado’s clean energy industry is looking at strong growth projections.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Republican lawmakers in North Carolina seize the award for the biggest asshole move of the month.
► Wouldn’t it just be easier to call Donald Trump directly?
► President Trump’s polling numbers are getting worse every week. Vox.com examines the data.
► Now that you’re done reading, you can start listening to The Get More Smarter Podcast. This week, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss Sen. Cory Gardner’s no-good, very bad summer; the empty Republican bench; and more trouble with the Bureau of Land Management’s pending move to Colorado.
For more political learnings, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to give Colorado Pols a thumbs up on Facebook and Twitter.