Feds restore WA water quality standards for chemical discharges

National News
By Isabella Breda; The Spokesman Review SEATTLE - In a reversal of Trump administration policies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week reinstated federal water quality standards for chemicals discharged into Washington state waterways. The final rule signed Monday would ensure polluters stay within federally established levels of chemicals or conditions in a body of water that are not expected to cause adverse health effects. Through the years, the water quality standard for polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs — chemicals found in dyes, paint, building materials, coolants and other products — have been a point of contention. Industry leaders, like paper and pulp manufacturers, previously argued there was no technology available to bring wastewater discharge of PCBs to the low levels that were required. Sometimes these standards are aspirational, said Bill…
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EPA to Issue PFAS Drinking Water Health Advisories Wednesday

Research
Bloomberg Law The EPA will issue four PFAS health advisories for drinking water on Wednesday, the agency’s top water official said. The agency will also propose a new lead and copper rule by the end of 2023, said Radhika Fox, assistant administrator for the Office of Water, speaking Monday at the American Water Works Association annual conference in San Antonio. The PFAS advisories will be based on the best available science regarding the safe lifetime exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances for “a range of populations,” Fox said. Fox said the advisories will include monitoring protocols for PFOA and PFOS—two of the most commonly studied PFAS—in drinking water. The EPA’s current health advisory for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, issued in 2016, is 70 parts per trillion. An earlier…
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EPA moves to give states, tribes more power to protect water rights

National News
By Michael Phillis & Suman Naishadham; Associated Press ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Biden administration on Thursday proposed undoing a Trump-era rule that limited the power of states and Native American tribes to block energy projects like natural gas pipelines based on their potential to pollute rivers and streams. The Clean Water Act allows states and tribes to review what effect pipelines, dams and some other federally regulated projects might have on water quality within their borders. The Trump administration sought to streamline fossil fuel development and made it harder for local officials to block projects. The Biden administration’s proposed rule would shift power back to states, tribes and territories. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement that the agency’s draft regulation would empower local entities to…
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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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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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