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EPA Closer to Regulating PFAS in Drinking Water

The EPA has made an initial determination that it will eventually set legal limits for levels of two key PFAS chemicals in drinking water, the agency announced Thursday.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the “preliminary regulatory determination” announced Thursday is the last step before the Environmental Protection Agency proposes limits on the releases of the two chemicals in drinking water and groundwater supplies. That announcement could still be months away.

The chemicals at issue are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), two of many within the class of chemicals called PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Scientists have linked PFAS chemicals—common in nonstick coatings and firefighting foam—to health problems including higher cholesterol, birth defects, and cancer.

Nearly Half the Country Working on PFAS Rules as EPA Drags Feet

More states are stepping up to protect people from drinking water contaminated with “forever chemicals” in the absence of federal enforcement.

Twenty-three states are writing their own guidance, regulations, or legislation that would address drinking water contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS.

The family of thousands of chemicals, once used in Teflon and Scotchgard, may cause liver tissue damage, immune system or thyroid problems and increased cholesterol levels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The substances require massive amounts of energy to fully break down, enabling them to persist in the environment, seemingly “forever.”

California Attorney General Becerra Says EPA’s Proposed Standards for Lead in Drinking Water Fails the Test Americans Expect

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a 10-state coalition, on Wednesday filed comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed amendments to nationwide standards for controlling and remediating lead in drinking water, also known as the Lead and Copper Rule. The EPA’s proposed revisions represent the first major amendments in a generation to the Lead and Copper Rule, which was first promulgated in 1991. Although some of the proposed revisions strengthen the 1991 rule, others weaken existing requirements and fail to adequately protect the public from lead in drinking water.

Unlikely Allies Got White House to Tackle Tijuana River Mess: How They Pulled it Off

For decades, millions of gallons of raw sewage and trash have flowed from the Tijuana River to the Pacific Ocean, fouling beaches, angering Southern Californians and getting worse by the year.

An estimated 143 million gallons of waste from Tijuana spilled into the river valley in 2017, overwhelming a treatment plant built by the United States and Mexico nearly 25 years ago. Last October, a corpse clogged a sewage intake screen, causing a backup and sending 14.5 million gallons of polluted water over the border and into the U.S.

EPA Loans Coachella Valley Water District $59 Million for Stormwater Control

The Coachella Valley Water District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday signed an agreement for a $59.1 million loan to finance improvements to the district’s 134-mile stormwater system that drains into the Salton Sea. CVWD has 35 years to pay back the money, made available through the federal Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, which began doling out low-interest loans in 2017. The funding will help pay for two projects in the valley — one to increase the canal’s capacity between Coachella and Thermal and another that will build 3.3 miles of channel near Shadow Hills.

Trump’s Regional EPA Chief in California is Suddenly Removed From His Job

The Environmental Protection Agency’s top official in California was abruptly removed from office Wednesday.

No reason has yet been given for Mike Stoker’s dismissal.

In an email sent to staff members of the environment agency’s Pacific Southwest regional office, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote, “I would like to thank Mike Stoker for his service to the EPA.”

He then added, “I wish him and his family the best in their future endeavors.”

‘Our Voices are Not Being Heard’: Colorado Town a Test Case for California PFAS Victims

When Wendy Rash was diagnosed in 2005 with a thyroid disorder, chronic fatigue and other ailments, her doctor couldn’t explain her suddenly failing health.

Soon, other family members became ill. Her brother-in-law contracted fatal kidney cancer. Her father-in-law developed esophageal cancer. Then her 32-year-old son began having severe kidney problems.

Why Action on ‘Forever Chemicals’ Is Taking So Long

What do you do about lab-made chemicals that are in 99% of people in the U.S. and have been linked to immune system problems and cancer? Whose bonds are so stable that they’re often called “forever chemicals“? Meet PFAS, a class of chemicals that some scientists call the next PCB or DDT. For consumers, they are best known in products like Scotchgard and Teflon.

New EPA-Corps Rule Narrows Federal Clean-Water Jurisdiction

The Trump administration has carried out a major rewrite of a key environmental rule, significantly tightening the definition of which bodies of water are subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act, and which are not. The rule, governing what the statute calls “waters of the United States,” (WOTUS) is important to the construction industry because it determines where contractors must get a federal permit before they build near wetlands or streams. Construction  groups hailed the new rule, which top officials of the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers signed on Jan. 23.

California Will be Hit Hard as Trump Administration Weakens Clean Water Protections

Defying environmentalists and public health advocates, the Trump administration on Thursday will announce the replacement of Obama-era water protections with a significantly weaker set of regulations that lifts limits on how much pollution can be dumped into small streams and wetlands.

The changes to the Clean Water Act’s protections are expected to hit California and other Western states especially hard.