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Tag Archives: Environmental Protection Agency

The View From The Pacific Northwest: What to Watch in Environmental Law and Policy Post-Inauguration, Part 3

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Fish Consumption, Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory

Note: this is part 3 of 3 in my series of how the new administration may impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. For background, please see Part 1 and Part 2. Sediment Cleanup Sites Things are moving quickly with the new administration. Since publishing Part 1 of this series on Monday, the… Continue Reading

The View From The Pacific Northwest: What to Watch in Environmental Law and Policy Post-Inauguration, Part 2

Posted in Clean Water Act, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Natural Resources and Environment, Project Permitting, Regulatory

Note: this is part 2 of 3 in my series of how the new administration may impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. For background, please see Part 1. Tribal Relations One of the key factors influencing environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest is the presence of and obligations owed to… Continue Reading

The View From The Pacific Northwest: What to Watch in Environmental Law and Policy Post-Inauguration, Part 1

Posted in Clean Air Act, Clean Energy, Cleanup & Superfund, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Regulatory

On Friday morning, I boarded a plane in Chicago and by the time I touched down in Seattle, Trump had been sworn into office. We’ve received a number of questions from clients and friends asking us how the regime change will impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. The quick answer is one… Continue Reading

EPA Promulgates New Water Quality Standards for Toxics in Washington: Rejecting the Vast Majority of the Criteria Developed by the Washington Department of Ecology

Posted in Clean Water Act

If you have not yet seen the press, yesterday, EPA issued its final rule revising water quality standards for toxics in Washington. This finalizes the draft rule published more than a year ago, and comes on the heels of the lawsuit brought against EPA for not finalizing that rule in a timely fashion. It also… Continue Reading

Breaking: Puget Soundkeeper and Others Sue EPA (Again) Alleging Failure to Adopt Water Quality Standards for Washington that Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates

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

Earthjustice, representing a number of environmental groups, sued EPA on Friday alleging that EPA is in violation of the Clean Water Act because it has not finalized the draft rule it published back in September that set water quality standards for toxics in Washington based on higher fish consumption rates. This lawsuit is not a surprise,… Continue Reading

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 Begins Work on MTCA Model Remedies: What Can Washington Learn From Other Jurisdictions?

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Emerging Policy

In 2013, the Washington Legislature passed SSB 5296, which amended the Model Toxics Control Act in a number of ways. One of those amendments directed Ecology to adopt “model remedies,” defined as “a set of technologies, procedures, and monitoring protocols identified by [Ecology] for use in routine types of clean-up projects at facilities that have… 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

Breaking: EPA Issues its Record of Decision for the Duwamish River Superfund Site

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Water Quality

EPA Region 10 just released its Record of Decision (ROD) for the Duwamish River Superfund Site. This is the next step in the cleanup process for the Lower Duwamish River, and documents EPA’s selected remedy for the site. It comes on the heels of EPA’s Proposed Plan for the Duwamish, issued in February 2013.  The… Continue Reading

Pebble Mine Jumps the Gun on Challenge to EPA’s 404(c) Authority

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Endangered/Threatened Species, Natural Resources and Environment, Project Permitting

Ruling from the bench on Friday, Judge H. Russel Holland dismissed Pebble Limited Partnership’s claims that the EPA overstepped its authority in initiating proceedings under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act. (The written opinion is here.) EPA advised Pebble Partnership by letter in February 2014 that it was beginning the process under 404(c) to review… Continue Reading

Governor Inslee Issues His Policy Brief on Updating Washington’s Water Quality Standards

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Legislation

Governor Inslee held a press conference yesterday morning, where he presented his policy brief on Washington’s ongoing efforts to update its water quality standards to account for higher fish consumption rates. This has been a long time coming, and is a significant development on what is arguably the most important environmental rulemaking effort Washington has… Continue Reading

Guest Post from Integral Consulting: Integral Continues the Conversation Related to Doug’s Posts on Fish Consumption Rates

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

Note: This is the second guest post by Integral on this subject, it is also worth reviewing their prior post from February on this topic. In addition to the updated national recommended water quality criteria discussed by Doug on May 20, EPA has recently released another document with implications for selection of an appropriate fish… Continue Reading

Friday (the 13th) Morning Link Roundup: EPA Administrator Snubbing Press, Canada’s Attention Shifts to Coal Exports, Fish Consumption and More from the Wild Fish Conservancy

Posted in Clean Energy, Clean Water Act, Cleanup & Superfund, Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Endangered/Threatened Species, Fish Consumption

A quick roundup of some of the articles that caught my eye on Twitter in the past week or so: First, U.S. News‘ Washington Whispers page has a report out on EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy seemingly snubbing the press after a private event at the National Press Club yesterday where she gave a presentation on… Continue Reading

First Reaction to EPA’s Just-Released Draft of the Definition of “Waters of the United States” Under the Clean Water Act

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Rule Making, Water Quality

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers released a preview of the long-awaited proposed rule updating the definition of “Waters of the United States” yesterday morning. The proposed rule will soon be published in the Federal Register, but the unofficial version of the rule is available now. My initial reaction is that this rule—while being… Continue Reading

Particulate Emissions from Trains in Washington: A Cause for Concern?

Posted in Clean Air Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Geeky Science Stuff

Last week, Dan Jaffe’s atmospheric research group at the University of Washington released the results of a study of particulate emissions associated with rail traffic here in Seattle and along the Columbia River. That study was motivated by the controversy over coal exports, and was funded by contributions from the Sierra Club and through crowdfunding…. Continue Reading

Breaking: Judge Coughenour Denies BNSF’s Motion to Dismiss in Suit Alleging CWA Violations for Discharge of Coal from Trains

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Natural Resources and Environment, Water Quality

Yesterday, Judge Coughenour denied BNSF’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by various environmental groups under the Clean Water Act that alleges that BNSF has been discharging coal from rail cars without an NPDES permit. He did so without oral argument, finding that the 60 day notice letter sent by the plaintiffs to BNSF and others… Continue Reading

EPA’s Initiation of a Clean Water Act Section 404(c) Review for the Mining of the Pebble Deposit: What is the History of EPA’s Other 404(c) Determinations?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Endangered/Threatened Species, Natural Resources and Environment, Project Permitting, Uncategorized, Water Quality

Last Friday, EPA announced that it is initiating review of the proposed mining of the Pebble deposit in Alaska under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, a little-used part of the CWA that allows EPA to “veto” Section 404 permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers. As we briefly discussed over on Graham… Continue Reading

Breaking: Puget Soundkeeper Moves for Summary Judgment in Suit Against EPA Alleging Failure to Promulgate Water Quality Standards for Toxics in Washington

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Water Quality

This week saw two important developments in the lawsuit brought by Puget Soundkeeper and other environmental organizations against EPA Region 10 seeking to force EPA to promulgate new water quality standards for Washington that account for higher fish consumption rates: The first is that the court, not surprisingly, granted Ecology’s motion to intervene earlier this week…. 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: Earthjustice Sues EPA Alleging Failure by EPA to Promulgate Water Quality Criteria for Toxics for Washington State

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Rule Making, Water Quality

With a hat tip to Josh Lipsky over at Cascadia Law for being on top of the latest in filings in the Western District of Washington on a Friday afternoon: Earthjustice and other environmental groups filed a complaint against EPA today alleging that EPA has violated Section 303(c)(4) of the Clean Water Act because EPA… Continue Reading

EPA’s Proposed Water Quality Standards Regulations: Implications for Washington State

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Water Quality

On September 4, 2013, EPA published a notice proposing changes to the federal water quality standards (“WQS”), part of its implementation of the Clean Water Act. The proposed changes fall into six categories (summarized in this trifold): 1) Adding clarity regarding when the EPA Administrator has made a determination under Section 303(c)(4)(B) of the Clean… Continue Reading

EPA Region 10 Enforcement Update: Focus on Source Control and the Duwamish Waterway

Posted in Clean Water Act, Cleanup & Superfund, Uncategorized

EPA Region 10 released this press release on Monday, summarizing four recent enforcement actions it has taken under the Clean Water Act. There are some commonalities and differences between the four actions that I think are illustrative of Region 10’s enforcement priorities. First, all four of the entities (Ash Grove Cement Company, Waste Management of… Continue Reading