The Trump administration has put the water management systems of the federal government at risk by putting water managers at the mercy of a Trump appointee, according to a new report.
The report by the nonpartisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says the administration put the systems at risk as a result of its appointment of a “highly-qualified” water management specialist, Dr. Anthony Esposito, who is a former member of the Trump transition team.
“This appointee is not a water management expert and has no water management experience,” CREW Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement.
“He is a politically motivated appointee who has no expertise in water management.”
Dr. Esposio has a long history of being a key player in the water privatization industry, according with CREW, which filed a complaint with the Department of Justice in 2016 alleging he was involved in a scheme to privatize water.
He also has ties to the industry and is a board member for the nonprofit, nonprofit water rights advocacy group Common Cause.
The Trump administration appointed Esposimo as an “interim administrator” to help with the implementation of a new rule that allows the Trump administration to make changes to the federal Water Resources Management Act without approval from Congress.
The rule, however, has not been implemented and remains in limbo.
“The Trump Administration has not made any effort to explain how the rule was drafted or what changes will be made without a congressional approval process,” CREAW President Ken Klukowski said in the statement.
“Instead, the Administration has appointed a person who has made clear his intention to advance a political agenda that would weaken the federal water management agency.”
The administration also hired Dr. Andrew Weil as the interim director of the U.S. Geological Survey, who was appointed in August 2017.
He is an expert on water management, and has previously been on the board of the water rights organization Common Cause, which sued the Trump Administration in the U,S.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CREW also released a statement on Friday saying the Trump administrations water management policy “does not align with our commitment to protect water quality and public health.”
In addition to the CREW report, the watchdog group has published a report criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to allow the EPA to make a sweeping rule that would give states wide latitude to decide whether or not to use water from federal aquifers.