EPN In Action May-June 2022

Welcome to your EPN In Action newsletter

Highlights

EPN Announcements

  • EPN co-hosted a virtual round table discussion about the harms of lead contamination in drinking water and how to advocate for equity in lead service line replacement.

  • EPN hosted a webinar on our technical assistance program.

  • EPN members were featured in dozens of media outlets and authored several op-eds. EPN continues to provide in-depth, insightful background information to numerous reporters, congressional staffers, and non-profits.

  • EPN members provided pro bono technical assistance to low-income communities and communities of color over 35 times in the last two months, for a total of approximately 120 communities in the last year. In addition, thanks to a generous grant, we will be expanding our technical assistance program and bringing on 2-4 new Community Outreach Associates in the coming months.

EPN’s Work on Toxics and Superfund

Letter to Congress in Support of Legislation to Ban Asbestos

We sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works expressing strong support for the ARBAN due to the grave threat asbestos poses to human health and its extreme pervasiveness in our environment.

EPN Comments on Draft Environmental Justice Plan for EPA’s Land Protection and Cleanup Programs

EPN submitted comments on OLEM's Environmental Justice Action Plan. EPN supported EPA’s and OLEM’s goal to proactively achieve environmental justice by building on its past work and enhancing the benefits to under-served communities. EPN also strongly encouraged OLEM to review individual actions and look for broader applicability across its and other federal agencies' portfolios.

Toxics and Superfund in the News

EPA Downplays Fears Over PFAS Health Limits Set Below Detection Levels

June 15, 2022 / by

Suzanne Yohannan /

Inside EPA

Linda Birnbaum, former Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, was quoted in this article discussing the intention behind EPA’s recently announced interim drinking water health advisory levels for four PFAS.

Biden Wants to Rebuild the EPA. He Doesn’t Have the Money to Do It.

May 31, 2022 / by

Dino Grandoni /

The Washington Post

Dave Coursen, former attorney, EPA Office of General Counsel, and Eric Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project and former Director, EPA Office of Civil Enforcement, were quoted in this article discussing how the continued lack of funding and insufficient workforce has hampered EPA’s ability to perform its core responsibilities.

PFAS Pose ‘Watershed’ Moment for Superfund Liability

May 24, 2022 / by

E.A. Crunden and Hannah Northey /

E&E News

Betsy Southerland, former Director, Office of Science and Technology, EPA Office of Water, was quoted in this article discussing the possible ramifications of listing PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

EPN’s Work on Air

EPN Comments on EPA’s Proposal to Reduce Air Pollution from Heavy-duty Vehicles and Engines

EPN submitted comments on EPA’s proposal to set new, more stringent standards to reduce pollution from heavy-duty vehicles and engines starting in MY 2027. EPN urged EPA to strengthen both the nitrogen oxide and greenhouse gas requirements in the final rule to maintain EPA’s leadership in improving air quality and public health and addressing the global climate crisis.

Air in the News

Greenhouse Gases Must Be Legally Phased Out, US Scientists Argue

June 16, 2022 / by

Fiona Harvey /

The Guardian

Donn Viviani, former Director, Climate Policy Assessment Division, EPA Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation, was quoted in this article about a petition he and others have filed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Why Canada’s Plastics Ban is About More Than Litter

June 20, 2022 / by

Marco Chown Oved /

Toronto Star

Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics and former Regional Administrator, EPA Region 2, was quoted in this article discussing how Canada’s ban on some single-use plastics will also lead to reductions in demand for fossil fuel.

EPN Member Op-Eds

EPN members penned their own op-eds on the West Virginia vs. EPA decision, electric vehicles, and TSCA policy improvements.

I Grew Up Near a Coal Power Plant. This EPA Decision Will Worsen Public Health Injustices.

June 30, 2022 / by

Mustafa Santiago Ali /

USA Today

Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vice President at the National Wildlife Administration; former EPA Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization; and former EPA Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice, wrote this op-ed urging President Biden and Congress to put together a comprehensive climate bill in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on West Virginia vs. EPA.

Electric Trucks Can Fight Inflation – and Petro-State Dictators Like Putin

May 31, 2022 / by

Margo Oge /

Forbes

Margo Oge, former Director, EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality, penned this op-ed about how significantly strengthening nitrogen oxide and greenhouse gas emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks would have enormous public health benefits and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Unjustified Industry Pushback on EPA’s Toxic Chemical Regulation

May 20, 2022 / by

Elizabeth Southerland, Robert Sussman, Linda Birnbaum, and Penny Fenner-Crisp /

The Hill

Linda Birnbaum (former Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), Penny Fenner-Crisp (former Senior Science Advisor, EPA Office of Pesticides Program), Betsy Southerland (former Director, Office of Science and Technology, EPA Office of Water), and Bob Sussman (former EPA Senior Policy Advisor and former EPA Deputy Administrator) penned this op-ed rebutting American Chemistry Council claims that policy improvements made by EPA to strengthen TSCA implementation are inconsistent with regulatory needs to protect human health and welfare.

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 lead in drinking water, Pride Month, Pebble Mine, asbestos, toxins in fetal development, and environmental justice.

‘Crying Out for Help’: Inside an EPA Water Crisis

June 23, 2022 / by

Hannah Northey /

E&E News

Betsy Southerland, former Director, Office of Science and Technology, EPA Office of Water, and Elin Betanzo, former National Tribal Drinking Water Coordinator, EPA Office of Water, were quoted in this article about the elevated levels of lead in drinking water in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and the need for faster federal intervention when state and local water utilities are ineffective at lowering lead levels.

EPA Raises Pride Flag for First Time

June 1, 2022 / by

Kevin Bogardus /

E&E News

Kevin Minoli, former EPA Acting General Counsel, was quoted in this article regarding the raising of the Pride flag at EPA headquarters in honor of the start of Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community.

Biden EPA Deals Major Blow to Pebble Mine

May 25, 2022 / by

Jael Holzman, Ariel Wittenberg, and Hannah Northey /

E&E News

Dennis McLerran, former Regional Administrator, EPA Region 10, was quoted in this article regarding EPA’s proposal to deny a Clean Water Act permit that would have allowed copper and gold mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed.


ADAO Seeks Stronger Asbestos Reporting But Backs ‘Landmark’ Proposal

May 13, 2022 / by

Maria Hegstad /

Inside EPA

Bob Sussman, counsel for Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and former EPA Deputy Administrator, was quoted in this article about EPA’s proposed asbestos reporting mandate, a landmark proposal for the agency’s Chemical Data Reporting proposal.

Pregnant Women Increasingly Exposed to Chemicals That Could Harm Development

May 10, 2022 / by

Sharon Usadin /

The Hill

Tracey Woodruff, Director, University of California, San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment; former EPA senior scientist; and former Policy Advisor, EPA Office of Policy, was quoted in this article discussing the results of her research group’s study, which found widespread exposure of pregnant women, particularly Latinas, to understudied chemicals and toxins that could be harmful to fetal development. Tracey was quoted in similar articles appearing in E&E News, Yahoo News, and other media outlets.

Biden’s New Strategy for Environmental Justice

May 9, 2022 / by

Joseph Winters /

Grist

Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vice President for Environmental Justice, National Wildlife Federation, former EPA Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization, and former EPA Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice, was quoted in this article regarding the announcement of an Office of Environmental Justice within the Department of Justice.

Read all recent EPN in the News items here