EPA sets stringent standards for PFAS in drinking water
E&E News - June 15
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 15 announced new drinking water “health advisories” for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS). PFAS are so-called “forever chemicals” that have been linked to various health issues, including liver and kidney issues and certain types of cancer. Regulators are replacing EPA’s 2016 health advisory level for PFOA and PFOS of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) combined with new levels of 4 parts per quadrillion (ppq) for PFOA and 20 ppq for PFOS — “near zero levels,” as one EPA official described it. Additionally, EPA is, for the first time, establishing health advisory levels for the compounds PFBS and “GenX.” EPA said that drinking water is only safe to consume if it contains less than 2,000 ppt of PFBS and 10 ppt of GenX. Although these are not enforceable limits, they signal EPA’s impending adoption of significantly tougher regulations for enforceable drinking water standards.
California Supreme Court rules that Amazon customers can sue over lack of Prop 65 warnings
U.S. News & World Report – June 16
The California Supreme Court has left intact a lower court ruling that allows customers to sue Amazon.com for violating California’s Proposition 65 by failing to warn buyers that certain products that it sells may contain hazardous substances, such as mercury. Proposition 65 requires companies to warn consumers about products they make or sell that contain chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm, or birth defects. The plaintiffs in the case, originally filed in Alameda County, alleged that skin-lightening creams produced by third parties but sold on Amazon contained mercury levels that were thousands of times the U.S. federal legal limit.
Tunnel vision: What’s next for the governor’s plan to replumb the Delta?
CalMatters – June 22
California water officials later this summer will release the first environmental review of a controversial project to replumb the Delta — a plan in the works for decades that has alternately been called a water grab or a critical update to shore up state supplies. Known as the Delta Conveyance Project, a single tunnel supported by Governor Gavin Newsom—in lieu of the twin tunnels project he previously proposed—would take water from the Sacramento River and bypass the vast Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, funneling the flows directly to pumps in the south Delta or straight to Bethany Reservoir near Livermore in Northern California. The proposed project aims to make the State Water Project, which provides water to 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland, less vulnerable to rising seas, earthquakes, and the extreme droughts and precipitation shifts of climate change.
Lawsuit filed against $2.5B dam project planned for Santa Clara County
The Mercury News – June 21
Critics of plans to build a huge new reservoir in Santa Clara County near Pacheco Pass earlier this month filed a lawsuit against the proposed $2.5 billion project, which would be the largest reservoir constructed in the Bay Area in more than 20 years. The group, a coalition of environmentalists and landowners whose rural ranchland property would be flooded, sued the Santa Clara Valley Water District in Santa Clara County Superior Court to block the project, alleging that the water district violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when it decided not to conduct environmental studies to measure how upcoming drilling, boring, and other geological tests will affect sensitive plants, wildlife, and archaeological sites where the dam is planned.
Ninth Circuit rejects Trump-era EPA finding that weed killer is safe
Associated Press – June 17
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday set aside a Trump administration finding that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world, does not pose a serious health risk and is “not likely” to cause cancer in humans. The court ordered EPA to reexamine its 2020 finding that glyphosate did not pose a health risk for people exposed to it by any means — on farms, yards, or roadsides or as residue left on food crops. Bayer, which acquired the herbicide’s original producer Monsanto in 2018, is facing thousands of claims from people who say Roundup exposure caused their cancer.
California delays final decision on protecting western Joshua tree
Courthouse News Service – June 16
The western Joshua tree will retain its interim status as a protected species after the California Fish and Game Commission failed to come to an agreement last Thursday at a hearing on the matter. A final decision is not expected until October. The Commission was split 2-2 on an environmental group’s petition to protect the trees permanently under California’s Endangered Species Act.
*This article may require a subscription to read.