Trial underway in S.F. could remove fluoride from drinking water
San Francisco Chronicle – June 8
About 200 million Americans, nearly two-thirds of the population, drink water containing fluoride, added to fight tooth decay. That could be changed by a case now on trial in a San Francisco federal court. A group of consumer groups contend recent studies show that when pregnant women drink fluoridated water, their children are significantly more likely than others to suffer neurological damage, including reduced IQs and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The suit was filed under the 1976 federal Toxic Substances Control Act, which allows citizen groups to petition the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") to reconsider its previous approval of a chemical. The consumer groups presented their petition to the EPA in November 2016 and sued EPA after the agency turned them down in February 2017.
San Diego and Tijuana announce plans to improve Tijuana River water treatment
KPBS – June 10
On Tuesday, United States and Mexican officials announced separate plans to upgrade Tijuana River wastewater facilities. The international river has been a longtime problem for residents of Imperial Beach and Tijuana, as sewage and trash from the river have spilled into the Pacific Ocean for decades, forcing the closure of beaches near the border and damaging natural habitats along the river. The American plan has been sent to the EPA, which committed up to $300 million from the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement towards the U.S.-Mexico wastewater issue, for review. Meanwhile, the International Boundary and Water Commission announced that, on the Mexican side, the Tijuana pump station would be rehabilitated, thanks to about $3.6 million in funding from Mexico's National Water Commission.
Plans released to drain Santa Clara County’s largest reservoir
The Mercury News – June 8
Three months after federal dam safety regulators ordered Anderson Reservoir, the largest reservoir in Santa Clara County, to be drained due to earthquake concerns, new details are emerging on what will happen to all that water, the fish that depend on it, and the water supply for Silicon Valley. On May 26, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which owns the 7-mile-long reservoir between Morgan Hill and San Jose, approved a 42-page draining plan, which includes building a 1,700-foot-long tunnel, up to 24 feet in diameter, alongside the dam. The tunnel is expected to increase by five-fold the rate at which water can be released during major storms or after an earthquake damages the dam. Construction of the tunnel is scheduled to start early next year and be completed in late 2023, at a cost of $200 million.
EPA to allow use of weedkiller until July 31 after court overturns approval
The Hill – June 9
The EPA announced this Monday that it will allow farmers to continue to use the weedkiller dicamba until July 31, after a court ruling overturned the agency’s approval of the chemical for certain uses. A federal court ruled last week that the EPA "substantially understated risks that it acknowledged and failed entirely to acknowledge other risks" in 2018, when it approved the use of dicamba for genetically modified soybean and cotton farming. The dicamba weedkiller has been linked to certain cancers, and has been shown to damage certain types of trees and other plants.