Environmental Protection Agency

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

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.

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)

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