EPN In Action January-February 2021

Welcome to your EPN in Action Newsletter

The Environmental Protection Network was launched in January 2017 to harness the expertise of former EPA career staff and confirmation-level appointees from multiple administrations to protect public health and the environment.

  • EPN members’ op-eds were highlighted in Urban Resilience Project’s 2020 e-book compilation, spotlighting what is unsustainable and unjust and offering alternative visions.

  • EPN presented testimony on the final draft risk evaluation of asbestos, part 1: chrysotile asbestos, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) at an EPA public webinar.

  • EPN submitted comments on the draft scope documents for the risk evaluations of di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) conducted under TSCA.

  • EPN sent a letter to EPA expressing concern that the agency has not effectively utilized the expanded authority granted by Congress under Section 4 of TSCA to improve the science base for risk evaluations and other assessments under the law.


EPN Member Op-Eds

EPN members also penned their own op-eds on water infrastructure, restoring EPA, and infrastructure initiatives.

Water Infrastructure — the Unmet Needs of Low-income Communities

February 3, 2021 / by

David Coursen /

The Hill

David Coursen, EPN member and former attorney, EPA Office of General Counsel, wrote this op-ed about what the Biden administration must do to help improve water infrastructure in overburdened and underserved communities.

Restoring the EPA: Lessons From the Past

January 26, 2021 / by

Stan Meiburg /

The Hill

Stan Meiburg, EPN member and former EPA Deputy Regional Administrator in Region 4 and Region 6 and Acting EPA Deputy Administrator, wrote this op-ed on restoring the capacity and core values of EPA.

Biden Should Go Big on Infrastructure in the First 100 Days

January 19, 2021 / by

Cheryl Wasserman /

The Hill

Cheryl Wasserman, EPN member and former EPA Associate Director for Policy Analysis, Office of Federal Activities, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, penned this op-ed on why the Biden administration should prioritize infrastructure during its first 100 days.

EPN’s Work on Toxics

EPN Submits Comments on Draft Scope Documents for the Chemicals DIDP and DINP

EPN submitted comments on the draft scope documents for the risk evaluations of DIDP and DINP, chemicals widely used in everyday products from flooring and shoe soles to children’s toys and childcare products. EPN believes these chemicals should be evaluated in a combined assessment due to coincident exposure to both chemicals, the overlapping conditions of use and potential health effects, as well as EPA's own previous support of a combined assessment.

EPN Writes Letter on Enhancing Use of EPA’s Testing Authority Under TSCA Section 4

EPN sent a letter to EPA expressing concern that the agency has not effectively utilized the expanded authority granted by Congress under Section 4 of the amended TSCA. EPN strongly recommends that EPA modify its existing chemical assessment process to include a comprehensive data adequacy analysis on candidate chemicals before they advance to prioritization and risk evaluations.

Examples of EPN in the News

In addition to the articles above, EPN members contributed to a range of articles on topics such as drinking water systems, rebuilding EPA, EPA’s systematic review system, EPA staff moral, environmental justice, and the current state of EPA.

More Than 25m Drink From the Worst US Water Systems, with Latinos Most Exposed

February 26, 2021 / by

Emily Holden, Caty Enders, Niko Kommenda and Vivian Ho /

The Guardian

EPN members Cynthia Giles (former Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance), Carl Reeverts (former Project Manager, Infrastructure Branch, EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water), and Betsy Southerland (former Director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water) were quoted in this article describing the findings of a nationwide review of water systems and demographic data.

EPA Dumps Trump-Era Chemical Analysis Approach After Rebuke

February 16, 2021 / by

Pat Rizzuto /

Bloomberg Law

Tracey Woodruff (director of UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, EPN member and former EPA senior scientist and policy advisor in the Office of Policy) was quoted in this article discussing EPA’s decision to abandon a Trump-era method to analyze chemicals.

Trump Led an “All-Out Assault” on the EPA. Now Biden Has To Rebuild It.

February 10, 2021 / by

Zahra Hirji /


EPN members Tom Sinks (former Director, EPA Office of the Science Advisor), Betsy Southerland (former Director, EPA Office of Science and Technology, Office of Water), and Jim Woolford (former director of EPA’s Superfund Program) were quoted in this article discussing possible steps the Biden administration could take to rebuild staff and morale at EPA. Tom and Betsy were also quoted in a related article from Red Green and Blue.

The Mess That Biden’s EPA Nominee Michael Regan Will Inherit, Explained

February 8, 2021 / by

Umair Irfan /


Chris Zarba, EPN member and former Director, EPA Science Advisory Board, was quoted and EPN was cited in this article concerning the massive work that nominee Regan will have to do to reverse damage from the past four years and move forward with Biden’s environmental policies.

Labor and Environmental Groups Optimistic Biden’s EPA Pick Can Rebuild Trust

February 4, 2021 / by

Courtney Bublé /

Government Executive

Tim Whitehouse (Executive Director of PEER, EPN member and former senior attorney at EPA) was quoted and EPN was cited in this article about the work nominee Regan will need to do to rebuild the agency.

Hazardous Homes: Thousands of U.S. Public Housing Residents Live in the Country’s Most Polluted Places

January 13, 2021 / by

Angela Caputo and Sharon Lerner /

The Intercept

Jim Woolford, EPN member and former director of EPA’s Superfund Program, was quoted in this article concerning the public health of Americans living in public housing near Superfund sites.

Read all recent EPN In the News items here