EPN In Action July-August 2021

 

Welcome to your EPN In Action newsletter

Highlights

  • EPN sent a letter to EPA proposing actions to help reduce exposure to lead in drinking water while the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) are under review. EPN also provided testimony at a national stakeholder roundtable as part of EPA’s virtual engagements to obtain additional input on the agency’s LCRR.

  • EPN presented comments at a listening session held by EPA and the Army to inform their efforts to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

  • EPN submitted comments on an EPA-proposed rule for reporting and record-keeping requirements for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

  • EPN sent a letter to EPA proposing the agency use Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) authority to require industry to develop new, and submit existing, analytical methods to identify and quantify the presence of chemicals in products, workplaces, and homes.

  • EPN commented on the EPA Science Advisory Board’s (SAB) request for comments on the List of Candidates to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Particulate Matter (PM) Review Panel.

  • EPN presented testimony at a virtual public hearing on EPA’s proposal to revise the greenhouse gas (GHG) vehicle emissions standards for 2023 and later model years to make the standards more stringent.

EPN and EPA Alumni Updates

  • EPN is pleased to welcome EPN Deputy Director Mollie Michel.

  • EPN members, donors, friends, and family gathered for a very special virtual celebration of all that EPN has accomplished in the last four years and to launch EPN 2.0. The event featured a distinguished lineup of speakers, including EPA Administrator Michael Regan and EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe.

  • Former EPA employees shared what they have learned about federal rulemaking and how the public can effectively engage in a government agency’s decision-making process.

EPN’s Work on Water and Drinking Water

EPN Presents Comments on Defining “Waters of the United States”

EPN presented comments at a listening session held by EPA and the Army to inform their efforts to revise the definition of WOTUS. EPN supports EPA’s decision to replace the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) because it is inconsistent with the objectives of the Clean Water Act to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters”; ignores well-established science; and fails to protect waters that are critical to the health and welfare of the American people. If the NWPR is not vacated nationally based on the Arizona Court decision, EPN urged EPA to repeal it as soon as possible.

EPN Presents Testimony at National Stakeholder Roundtable on Lead and Copper Rule Revisions

EPN presented testimony on the LCRR at an EPA national stakeholder roundtable. Among other recommendations, EPN urged EPA to develop a single, unified database where public water system reports can be accessed immediately by the state primacy agency, EPA, and the public and to retain the 7% annual replacement rate in order to speed public health protection and avoid backsliding on current protections.

EPN Proposes Immediate Actions to Reduce Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water

EPN sent a letter to EPA's Office of Water proposing actions EPA can immediately take to help reduce exposure to lead in drinking water while the LCRR are under review. Actions included strengthening state compliance and enforcement, ensuring best corrosion control practices, and encouraging utilities to replace lead pipes in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Water and Drinking Water in the News

Federal Judge Throws Out Trump Administration Rule Allowing the Draining and Filling of Streams, Marshes and Wetlands

August 31, 2021 / by

Dino Grandoni and Brady Dennis /

The Washington Post

Mark Ryan, EPN member; former EPA Regional Counsel, EPA Region 10; and former Special Assistant US Attorney, was quoted in this article about the recent repeal of the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule, an action that will afford more protections to drinking-water sources and wetlands. Mark was also quoted in similar articles appearing in E&E News, The New York Times, and S&P Global.

Biden Aims to Remove All Lead Pipes. Will EPA Follow Suit?

August 24, 2021 / by

Hannah Northey /

E&E News

Betsy Southerland, EPN member and former Director, Office of Research and Development, EPA Office of Water, was quoted in this article regarding how certain protections offered in the Trump-era LCR could be allowed to move forward as the agency revises other parts of the rule, which may help EPA meet President Biden’s goal to remove lead pipelines.

So-called ‘Forever Chemicals’ Are Polluting Waterways. But Regulating Them Is Proving To Be a Long Journey.

July 30, 2021 / by

Brittany Trang /

Milwaukee Sentinel Journal

Mike Shapiro, EPN member and former Deputy Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Water, was quoted in this article regarding EPA’s proposal to include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances as a class of pollutants in its next Candidate Contaminant List regulatory cycle.

EPN’s Work on Toxic Chemicals

EPN Comments on TSCA PFAS Reporting Requirements

EPN submitted comments on the EPA-proposed rule on reporting and record-keeping requirements for PFAS substances. EPN urged EPA to use the full authority of TSCA to get comprehensive information from all PFAS manufacturers and processors in the U.S. and make all non-confidential business information submissions publicly available as soon as possible.

Toxic Chemicals in the News

Environmentalists Urge EPA to Add Pre-Prioritization to ‘Tiered’ Data Rule

August 5, 2021 / by

Maria Hegstad /

Inside EPA

Bob Sussman, EPN member; counsel for Safer Chemicals Healthy Families; former EPA Deputy Administrator; and former Senior Policy Counsel to the EPA Administrator, was quoted in this article suggesting the pre-prioritization of chemicals as part of EPA’s planned tiered data rule in the TSCA regulatory process, an Obama-era recommendation that had been abandoned by the Trump administration.

EPN’s Work on Air

EPN Presents Testimony on EPA’s Proposed GHG Emissions Standards for Light-Duty Vehicles

EPN testified at a virtual public meeting on EPA’s proposal to revise the GHG emissions standards for light-duty vehicles for 2023 and later model years to make the standards more stringent. EPN urged the agency to prioritize a post-2026 rule that establishes a clear regulatory pathway to achieve near-100 percent zero-emissions car and light-truck sales by 2035.

Air in the News

Code Red: Scientists Warn Of Worsening Climate Change

August 12, 2021 / by

Kelly Wright /

The World Tonight

Mustafa Santiago Ali, EPN member; Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation; former EPA Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization; and former EPA Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice, was interviewed by Kelly Wright discussing the impacts that pollution from fossil fuels, farming practices, and deforestation have had on climate change and on vulnerable communities.

The ‘Car Guy’ President Wants Americans to Go Electric

August 5, 2021 / by

ALEX GUILLÉN /

Politico

Margo Oge, EPN member and former Director, EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality, was quoted in this article regarding the Biden administration’s efforts to speed the adoption of electric vehicles in the coming 15 years, aided by steep declines in the costs of batteries, the shift in car makers’ strategies, and growing public pressure to reduce the greenhouse gases causing climate change.

Fuel-Efficiency Standards Are Set to Get Tougher. The Question Is by How Much.

August 2, 2021 / by

Katy Stech Ferek /

The Wall Street Journal

EPN Member Jeff Alson, former Senior Engineer and Policy Advisor, EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality, was quoted in this article about the Biden administration’s expected announcement on stricter fuel-efficiency standards for new cars and light trucks, fulfilling a pledge to reset tailpipe-emission limits eased by former President Trump. Jeff was quoted in a similar article in The New York Times.

EPN Member Op-Eds

EPN members penned their own op-eds on the SAB, CASAC, and PFAS.

Science Matters: Thankfully, EPA Leadership Once Again Agrees

August 3, 2021 / by

Christopher Zarba /

The Hill

Chris Zarba, EPN member and former Director, EPA Science Advisory Board, wrote this op-ed about EPA’s renewed commitment to science in the independent reviews conducted by EPA’s SAB and CASAC. 

 

EPA Must Protect Public Health by Regulating PFAS as a Class

July 30, 2021 / by

Linda Birnbaum, Betsy Southerland, and Robert Sussman /

The Hill

EPN members Linda Birnbaum, former Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and former EPA scientist; Betsy Southerland, former Director, EPA Office of Science & Technology in the Office of Water; and Bob Sussman, former EPA Deputy Administrator and Senior Policy Counsel to the EPA Administrator, penned this op-ed urging EPA to use a class-based approach to regulate PFAS in order to more quickly address the growing risks of these chemicals to the American people.

More Examples of EPN in the News

In addition to the articles above, EPN members contributed to a range of articles on topics such as orphan Superfund sites, PFAS, preventing political interference in science, EPA budget, hiring at EPA, and fracking.

Infrastructure Bill Expected To Ease Superfund’s Orphan Site Backlog

August 19, 2021 / by

Suzanne Yohannan /

Inside EPA

Betsy Southerland, EPN member and former Director, Office of Research and Development, EPA Office of Water, was quoted and EPN was mentioned in this article discussing how the increased funding appropriated to the EPA Superfund program in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill could go towards accelerating clean up of orphan sites.

Industry Braces For Public Release of EPA Council’s PFAS Advice

August 11, 2021 / by

Diana DiGangi /

Inside EPA

Recommendations from EPN’s PFAS Action Plan were cited in this article about the pending release of guidance from EPA’s intra-agency advisory council on PFAS.

After Trump, US Researchers Urge Biden to Block Political Meddling in Science

August 4, 2021 / by

Nidhi Subbaraman /

Nature

Tom Sinks, EPN member and former Director, EPA Office of the Science Advisor, was quoted in this article about U.S. researchers and science groups appealing to the Biden administration to protect government science from political interference and to empower federal scientists to speak to the media and public.


4 Areas EPA Could Expand With House’s 23% Budget Boost

July 29, 2021 / by

Juan Carlos Rodriguez /

Law 360

Stan Meiburg, EPN member; former Acting EPA Deputy Administrator; and former Deputy Regional Administrator, EPA Regions 4 and Region 6, was quoted in this article discussing how the House’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget for EPA would support the agency’s ability to once again function effectively.

Are We Being Kept Safe From ‘Forever Chemicals’ Injected Into Fracking Sites?

July 21, 2021 / by

David Bond /

The Guardian

Linda Birnbaum, EPN member, former Director of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and former EPA scientist, was quoted in this piece about the negative health impacts of living near fracking sites.

EPA, in Midst of Hiring Spree, Faces Uphill Push for More Staff

July 14, 2021 / by

Stephen Lee /

Bloomberg Law

Alexis Strauss, EPN member; former EPA Senior Policy Advisor; and former Acting Regional Administrator, EPA Region 9, was quoted in this article discussing potential ways to speed up the hiring process at EPA.

Read all recent EPN in the news items here