News

EPA Adds Four New PFAS to Toxic Release Inventory

National News, Research
By Joseph Zaleski and Samuel Boxerman; Sidley Energy Blog As part of its continued focus on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added four PFAS substances to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list, including PFBS (perfluorobutane sulfonic acid) and potassium perfluorobutane sulfonate as well as two compounds listed at by their chemical identifier numbers — CASRN 65104-45-2 and CASRN 203743-03-7. EPA’s decision to add these PFAS to the TRI requires facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use these PFAS chemicals to include them in annual reports made to EPA pursuant to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act starting this reporting year. The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) immediately added 172 PFAS chemicals to the TRI and required annual facility reporting. The NDAA also provided…
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EPA acts to curb air, water pollution in poor communities

National News
By Matthew Daly, AP News WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency announced a series of enforcement actions Wednesday to address air pollution, unsafe drinking water and other problems afflicting minority communities in three Gulf Coast states, following a “Journey to Justice” tour by Administrator Michael Regan last fall. The agency will conduct unannounced inspections of chemical plants, refineries and other industrial sites suspected of polluting air and water and causing health problems to nearby residents, Regan said. And it will install air monitoring equipment in Louisiana’s “chemical corridor” to enhance enforcement at chemical and plastics plants between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The region contains several hotspots where cancer risks are far above national levels. The EPA also issued a notice to the city of Jackson, Mississippi, saying its…
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Local emergency disaster declared near Cocolalla for water shortage

Idaho News
By Anissa Keith; Bonner County Daily Bee COCOLALLA — Bonner County commissioners declared a local disaster emergency in the Arrowhead Ranch Water Association district due to low well production. Twenty-seven residents in the area have been experiencing a water shortage since March 2020. A water district and homeowners association near Cocolalla, Arrowhead Ranch Water Association officials asked the commission to declare a local disaster emergency so they could pursue funding to resolve the shortage. The district does not have the authority to levy taxes, as they are not a taxing district. “This will allow us to declare their water shortage a public health emergency and will allow them to contact outside agencies for assistance, such as the DEQ,” said Jessi Webster, deputy clerk and business operations manager for the commission.…
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Supreme Court tees up wetlands fight that could cuff EPA

National News
E&E News Idaho landowners Chantell and Michael Sackett are behind a new Supreme Court case that could upend Clean Water Act precedent. Pacific Legal Foundation The Supreme Court’s decision today to take a fresh look at the scope of the Clean Water Act could impair EPA’s ability to protect isolated wetlands and ephemeral and intermittent streams. It’s the latest brawl the high court has agreed to tackle with the potential to reshape national environmental policy. “They very well could address this whole issue fresh, what we call de novo, look at it in light of what the language of the statute really means,” said Larry Liebesman, a senior adviser at Dawson & Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in permitting. “With a 6-3 majority conservative, there’s a fair chance they may…
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DEQ seeks representatives for Kootenai Bay Watershed Advisory Group

Idaho News
Bonner County Daily Bee COEUR D’ALENE — The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) seeks representatives from various interest groups to serve on the new Kootenai Bay Watershed Advisory Group (WAG). The WAG is a group of citizens from a diverse set of interests dedicated to improving and protecting water quality in Kootenai Bay in Lake Pend Oreille. Water quality in the bay and the greater Boyer Slough watershed is impacted by year-round stormwater runoff, seasonal snowmelt, and nutrient loading, which flow directly into the Kootenai Bay. DEQ is seeking participants from groups representing agriculture, mining, point source dischargers, forest products, local government, livestock, water-based recreation, environmental interests, and land management or regulatory agencies. Members do not need to be water quality experts to serve on a WAG. Individuals who…
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So far so good: Water outlook looks promising

Idaho News
By Hannah Ashton; Citizen Tribune Water experts are cautiously optimistic about the 2022 water year. As of Jan. 1, nearly the entire state has seen above-normal snow water equivalent, which describes the amount of water in the snowpack if it was melted, said Daniel Tappa, hydrologist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service. The new water year started Oct. 1. Many of the basins across the state have a buffer, meaning they have a higher snow water equivalent than the same time last year, Tappa said during the Idaho Water Supply Committee meeting on Thursday. Soil moisture is another check in the positive column. Across the state, soil moisture is high due to warmer than normal temperatures in November. Moist soils mean the ground won’t absorb all the water from snowmelt…
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Port on Columbia River Fined $1.3M Over Nitrate Violations

Idaho News, National News
By The Associated Press; The Oregonian BOARDMAN, Ore. (AP) — Oregon has fined the Port of Morrow along the Columbia River $1.3 million for repeatedly over-applying agricultural wastewater on nearby farms in an area that already has elevated levels of groundwater nitrates. The Capital Press reports the state Department of Environmental Quality announced the fine Tuesday. High levels of nitrates in drinking water are linked with serious health concerns, particularly for babies and pregnant women. The Port of Morrow is Oregon’s second-largest port, behind the Port of Portland. It is in the Umatilla Basin of northeast Oregon, where in 1990 the state declared a Groundwater Management Area because of high levels of groundwater nitrates. Groundwater is used as a primary source of drinking water across the basin, which spans northern Umatilla and…
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More rain and snow needed to pull Idaho out of drought conditions

Idaho News
By Katija Stjepovic, Idaho Press The snow pack in the Payette River drainage that provides irrigation water for the Emmett Valley is above normal for this time of year after last week’s storm. As of January 1 the snowpack levels for the Payette drainage are reported at 112 percent. The Treasure Valley, and many parts of Idaho, has already seen numerous inches of snowfall this season, but it is too soon to say if it is enough to dig Idaho out of the current drought conditions. The Boise Airport recorded 15 inches of snowfall in December. According to meteorologist Chuck Redman with the National Weather Service, Boise Airport’s average snowfall is anywhere from five to six inches. “We are doing really good right now,” Redman said. On Saturday, Brundage Mountain…
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Clean water at Canyon

Idaho News
By Chelsea Newby, Shoshone News Press CATALDO — Canyon Elementary School appears to have found the light at the end of the tunnel for its school’s water system worries. The rural elementary school has been operating under Panhandle Health’s boil order since Oct. 20, after its quarterly water sample led to the discovery of E. coli bacteria in the school’s reservoir tank. After several minor repairs and attempts to clean the tank proved unsuccessful, the school went on to hire a specialty company to perform a final deep-cleaning and extended chlorination flush of the reservoir tank during the school's Thanksgiving break. Canyon Elementary students and staff are back to using the water for hand washing only — taking extra precautions until Jan. 3 when results of the final water sample…
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$2 million boost to Lake CDA

Idaho News
By Madison Hardy, Coeur d'Alene Press The Coeur d'Alene Basin could see 11 nutrient-reducing measures come to fruition in 2022 following state approval on Friday.  Members of the Coeur d'Alene Lake Advisory Commission ended their three-month mission on Wednesday afternoon to recommend a set of projects designed to improve the health of the lake city's beloved water body.  A subset of Gov. Brad Little's Building Idaho's Future initiative, the CLAC solicited and reviewed 40 eligible proposals vying for $2 million in state funding.  "One thing I was encouraged about is in the short window we gave for applications, we still came up with over 40 projects," CLAC member Hemene James said. "Now imagine if we were to meet again, imagine the influx of applications we would receive ... I think…
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