COVID-19 and the U.S. Drinking Water Supply: What We Know Now

As the nation grapples with COVID-19, we wanted to pass along information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that may not be relayed as frequently as other critical details and advice on prevention and awareness.

Presently, the CDC states that COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water, and that conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection (like those found in most municipal drinking water systems) should be effective in removing or …

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Trump Administration: Environmental (Budget) Impact Assessment

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year 2021 Budget requests. As it has in previous years, the administration has proposed steep cuts in funding for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would also see their budgets trimmed. Although the current Congress is unlikely to agree to such broad-sweeping cuts, the White House’s proposed budget requests provide a strong indicator of the Trump Administration’s priorities. 

The Cuts:

Overall, …

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New York Bans Products Containing 1,4-Dioxane Effective January 1, 2022

On December 9, 2019, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo approved legislation that will eliminate the sale of products containing the chemical 1,4-dioxane in New York state. The ban, which is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2022, has a broad reach and includes many household cleaning products, some cosmetics, and personal care products containing the soon to be banned chemical.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified 1,4-dioxane as a likely carcinogen. It is a man-made chemical that is commonly found in shampoos, …

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EPA’s Supplemental “Transparency in Regulatory Science” Rule Likely to Restrict the Use of Scientific Studies in Determining Pivotal Environmental Actions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to publish a supplemental proposed rule that would expand the applicability of a preexisting proposed rule from 2018 impacting how environmental regulations come about. 

The supplemental proposal would require underlying data in scientific studies used in the promulgation of significant regulatory actions be publicly available—underlying data that’s often confidential, proprietary, and may contain private personal information subject to confidentiality agreements. 

As reported by the New York Times, this rulemaking action would supplement the April 2018 proposed rule entitled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” (83

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Colorless Haze? Carcinogenic Gas Found at Monitoring Sites in 16 Cities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new data regarding the concentrations of ethylene oxide, a colorless and carcinogenic gas, found in metropolitan areas throughout the country. That data shows that the highest concentrations can be found in Phoenix, Arizona, followed closely by Chicago, Illinois, Calvert City, Kentucky, and Chester, New Jersey.

Ethylene oxide is an industrial compound most commonly used to produce other chemicals or as a sterilizing agent for medical instruments. The EPA released the data as part of an ongoing effort …

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EPA Denies New York’s Good Neighbor Request

Last week, the EPA issued a final rule denying New York state’s bid to have the EPA issue enforceable daily emissions standards for hundreds of emission sources in upwind states in order to allow the New York Metro Area and Chataqua County to comply with 2008 and 2015 national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone under the Clean Air Act. The EPA ruled that the state failed to prove that the upwind pollution sources are interfering with its efforts to comply with the NAAQS.…

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We Need to Talk … It’s Not Me, It’s You: EPA Accuses California of Worsening Environmental Issues

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has accused California of “failing to meet its obligations” to protect the environment, claiming that the state’s growing homeless population threatens its water quality. In an oversight letter, Administrator Wheeler charged California officials with failing to meet federal health standards in numerous communities where large homeless populations litter the streets with trash, drug paraphernalia and human waste. The letter went on to argue that California’s focus on global warming has come at the expense of more basic environmental protections. Specifically, the …

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California v. Trump Administration Round LX: California and EPA War Over Vehicle Emission Standards

The Trump administration’s ongoing war with California over environmental standards has now reached a fever pitch. On September 19, 2019, the EPA announced that it will revoke the Clean Air Act waiver historically granted to California, which has allowed the state to set its own auto emission standards. The next day, California and 23 other states filed suit against EPA challenging the revocation.

The EPA’s stated goal is to reduce the regulatory burden on automakers by implementing a single national standard for emissions. However, the EPA’s move may …

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WOTUS War Surges Forward As EPA Announces Repeal of 2015 Rule

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator, Andrew R. Wheeler, signed a rule for publication that would repeal the 2015 Clean Water rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. 

The 2015 WOTUS rule allowed for a significant extension of the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by expanding the definition of “waters of the United States” to include waters such as headwaters, wetlands, and streams. The 2015 rule interpreted the CWA to cover these waters reasoning that they require protection “in order to restore and …

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Two Strikes – Medical Equipment Cleaning Facility Hit with Over 30 Lawsuits, While its Doors Remain Closed by State Regulators

Over 30 personal injury lawsuits have been filed against Sterigenics LLC in Cook County, Illinois. The suits are the latest development in the company’s issues arising out of claims its medical equipment cleaning plant emits harmful fumes.

Jeanne Hochhalter is one of those suing Sterigenics. She claims that the cancer she developed is directly related to the plant’s release of the chemical ethylene oxide.

“I got breast cancer. I have no family history of it,” Hochhalter said.

A Sterigenics spokesman said the company “has consistently …

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