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Category Archives: Public Health Policy

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Breaking: EPA Issues Draft Rule Revising Washington’s Water Quality Standards for Toxics to Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

Yesterday, following quickly on the heels of Governor Inslee’s withdrawal of Washington’s version of the fish consumption rule, EPA released draft water quality standards for toxics for Washington. These standards, if adopted, are significantly more stringent than those Ecology had proposed. By way of background, the core issue that emerged over the last two years is… Continue Reading

Back to the Drawing Board: What’s Next for the Fish Consumption Rule in Washington State?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Natural Resources and Environment, Public Health Policy, Rule Making

I have written extensively on the efforts by the Washington Department of Ecology to revise Washington’s Water Quality Standards to account for a higher fish consumption rate. This summer was when we were supposed to see the final rule be submitted to EPA for review and possible approval. In a nutshell, the controversy around this… Continue Reading

Ecology Files Fish Consumption Rule: What has Changed from Draft Language, and How has it Been Received?

Posted in Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Legislation, Public Health Policy

On Monday, right at the start of this year’s legislative session, Ecology filed its proposed rule that will–if adopted–result in adoption of new Water Quality Standards in Washington that account for high rates of fish consumption in this state. What has changed as compared to the preliminary draft rule? Not much, and nothing of substance…. Continue Reading

Ecology Releases Preliminary Draft Rule Adjusting Washington’s Water Quality Standards to Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

As directed by Governor Inslee back in July, the Washington Department of Ecology released a preliminary draft rule that will ultimately lead to the amendment of Washington’s Water Quality Standards for toxics. This is the next step in a multi-year process under which Washington is adjusting its WQS to account for a higher fish consumption… Continue Reading

Friday Morning Link Roundup: Pebble Mine 404(c) Restrictions; Survey Shows Majority of Washingtonians Support Coal Exports and Oil by Rail; Sierra Club Petitions to Ban DOT-111 Rail Cars; Science Communication in the Media and Risk Assessment Explained

Posted in Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, Environmental Risk, Geeky Science Stuff, Public Health Policy

Here is the roundup of what has caught my eye over the past week: EPA’s Pebble Mine 404(c) Restrictions First, EPA released its Proposed Determination under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for the Pebble Deposit Area in Southwest Alaska this morning. The executive summary of the proposed determination is here. In brief, EPA… Continue Reading

What Can Washington Learn from Plastics in the Pacific and Mercury in the Midwest?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

Two different scientific papers caught my eye this past week. Neither involve research conducted in the Pacific Northwest, but both are worth reviewing in light of the fish consumption debate raging in Washington right now. The first is an upcoming article by a group of Spanish researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences… Continue Reading

The Latest on Fish Consumption Rates and Water Quality Criteria: AWB’s Study on Impacts to Utility Rates and the Futility of Achieving Contemplated Water Quality Criteria for Toxics

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

The issue of fish consumption rates is something Washington has been wrestling with for years, but is an issue that has received mainstream media coverage only in the past year or so. I think it still is an issue that seems largely esoteric to many–frankly, it is a complex issue from a science, policy, and… Continue Reading

Breaking: Governor Inslee’s deal with Boeing to Build the 777x in Washington Includes a Commitment on Fish Consumption

Posted in Emerging Policy, Public Health Policy, Uncategorized, Water Quality

With a hat tip to Ken Lederman at Foster Pepper for getting the release in my inbox before my  twitter feed blew up on the subject: This afternoon, Governor Inslee announced a deal with Boeing that involves a special legislative session starting Thursday to implement a number of items in exchange for Boeing producing the… Continue Reading

Fish Consumption Issuing Major Sticking Point in Washington Budget Negotiations

Posted in Clean Water Act, Cleanup & Superfund, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Public Health Policy, Rule Making, Water Quality

Erik Smith over at the Washington State Wire just published a great piece on how the fish consumption issue is hanging up budget negotiations in Olympia. This piece, along with Robert McClure’s piece of investigative journalism from a couple months back frame nicely the political component of the fish consumption issue. The current sticking point… Continue Reading

Coal Export Fight Update: Lawsuit Filed, EIS Scope Decided, Politicians Travel to D.C.

Posted in Clean Water Act, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, NEPA, Project Permitting, Public Health Policy, Uncategorized

Lots going on with the coal export fight — here is a quick update: Citizen Suit Update: On June 4th–the earliest possible date–the Sierra Club filed suit seeking to enforce the alleged violations of the Clean Water Act detailed in its notice letter sent to BNSF and others back in April. The case is before… Continue Reading

Duwamish River Superfund Update

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Public Health Policy

I’ve blogged before on various aspects of the Duwamish Superfund site process, which began in 2001 with the lower 5 miles of the Duwamish River being listed as a federal Superfund site. The last decade has seen a massive study of the river and scoping of cleanup options by the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group, (“LDWG”),… Continue Reading

Transgenerational Effects of Dioxin in Rats: Implications for Human Health Risk Assessments?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Public Health Policy

Researchers at Washington State have put out an interesting study on dioxin exposure in rats. A good summary of that research is in this week’s online version of Scientific American, and the paper itself is available at PLOS One. In brief, the study showed that great-grandchildren of rats exposed to TCDD (think Agent Orange) exhibited a… Continue Reading

Washington Begins the Process of Updating its Water Quality Criteria for Toxics

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Public Health Policy, Rule Making, Uncategorized, Water Quality

I’ve written a fair amount on the issue of fish consumption in Washington, including discussions of the technical issues, speculation about possible impacts of this effort, and the appropriateness of addressing persistent bioaccumulative contaminants within this regulatory framework. On September 13th, Ecology announced it is commencing the long-anticipated formal process of updating its water quality… Continue Reading

Washington’s Draft Fish Consumption Guidance V. 2.0: What’s Changed Since October 2011?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Cleanup & Superfund, Public Health Policy, Rule Making, Water Quality

Ecology released its second draft of its fish consumption rate technical document last week. This updates the first version of the document released last October, which resulted in over 300 public comments from various interested parties. I’ve blogged on various issues related to fish consumption over the past few years, including some general background available… Continue Reading

Washington’s fish consumption policy efforts take a new turn

Posted in Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Public Health Policy, Rule Making, Water Quality

Ted Sturdevant, head of Washington’s Department of Ecology, just circulated this letter that backs off from the current path Ecology was on with respect to revising water quality standards and cleanup standards by revising fish consumption rates. I’ve written about this issue a few times: background is here, and some of the implications of the… Continue Reading

Will raising default fish consumption rates result in a cleaner environment?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

There is more coverage on Washington’s efforts to revise fish consumption rates in today’s Seattle Times. I’ve shared my thoughts on this issue before, discussing the potential for regulatory gridlock, and reporting on early rumors during the start of this process a couple years ago. To summarize the issues, Ecology is looking to increase the… Continue Reading

More on getting the lead out: CDC eliminates lead exposure limits in children

Posted in Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Public Health Policy

My previous life as a scientist was largely focused on lead pollution issues–having worked in a lab that traces its roots back to the work of Dr. Claire Patterson. The first chapter of my dissertation involved the response of San Francisco Bay to leaded gasoline phase-out. So, my ears perked up when I heard this… Continue Reading