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Science, Law & the Environment Emerging Topics in Environmental Law

Tag Archives: Risk Assessment

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 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

Guest Post from Integral Consulting: Integral Continues the Conversation Related to Washington State’s Water Quality Standards Revisions

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

Doug’s post on July 23 provided an excellent summary of Ecology’s webinar outlining its revision process for water quality standards (WQSs). Integral would like to point out a few more details of interest in Ecology’s approach. Ecology indicated that it will continue to use bioconcentration factors (BCFs), which estimate concentrations in fish tissue based on… 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

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

What an Astronaut Can Teach Us about Risk Communication: Chris Hadfield’s TED Talk and Lessons for Assessing Environmental Risk

Posted in Emerging Policy, Geeky Science Stuff

I watched Commander Chis Hadfield’s TED talk this weekend. He is an astronaut that gave a very compelling talk on perception of risk and how humans respond to that risk, and how we can condition ourselves to change that response. If you haven’t seen it, it is absolutely worth 18 minutes of your life. He… Continue Reading

Washington’s 2014 Legislative Session: Early Developments on Fish Consumption, Nuclear Power and More

Posted in Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, Fish Consumption, Uncategorized, Water Quality

We’re just over a week into the 2014 legislative session, and there are already some interesting developments. In no particular order, here is what is catching my eye: First, the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee held a work session on the fish consumption issue last week. The Association of Washington Business just posted an… 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

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’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

Fish consumption, water quality standards and . . . regulatory gridlock?

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

Over the past two years, Washington’s Department of Ecology has been working to revise the estimates of daily fish consumption of various populations in the state. When coupled with a risk assessment, these consumption rates dictate what is deemed to be acceptable levels of toxics in surface waters, and, because of food web effects, in… Continue Reading

Ecology Releases Study on Perfluorinated Compounds in Rivers and Lakes in Washington State

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Water Quality

I just finished going through the results of a survey of perfluorinated compounds (“PFCs”) in Washington waters that Ecology released last week. Most people are familiar with PFCs as Teflon, although they form a broader class of compounds that include the active ingredient in Scotchgard and other chemicals. There has been increasing concern regarding the… Continue Reading

EPA Releases Final Remedial Investigation for the Lower Duwamish Superfund Site

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund

Yesterday, EPA released the final draft of the Remedial Investigation (“RI”) for the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site. The complete text is available here. The Duwamish Superfund Site consists of the lower five miles of the Duwamish River, which empties near the Seattle waterfront. EPA listed this site in 2000 in response to contamination concerns,… Continue Reading