Lots of big ideas – think the minimum wage, women’s suffrage, abolition, fair labor standards – take years or decades from when they are first proposed to their final adoption. The fact that it takes a while to bring enough of society around to actually adopt a new idea doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good

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 seen in years.

The video of the press conference is here, my summary and thoughts follow:

The Governor’s proposed approach is consistent with what we’ve been hearing from Ecology and other sources over the past few months. Governor Inslee proposes to adjust the fish consumption rate (used to calculate water quality criteria for toxics) from 6.5 grams a day (the default in the National Toxics Rule, the current applicable water quality standards for toxics in Washington) to 175 grams per day. This adjustment has been coming for some time, so the new 175 gram per day number isn’t surprising. What is also not surprising is the proposal to use the federal drinking water standard for arsenic instead of the current standard, which is below background because of high levels of naturally occurring arsenic in Washington’s waters.


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