Water Infrastructure, Clean Air Act and More in the Week Ahead

bottled water

It’s quiet on the Hill this week with summer recess in full swing. But there’s plenty of other environmental-related news happening. Here’s a rundown of some stories we’re watching.  

Addressing Water Infrastructure after Flint

The Environmental Protection Agency hosts a discussion today at the Decatur House in Washington, D.C., to address funding and financing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure for communities in need.

On Wednesday, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, a council that advises the EPA, hosts a teleconference to discuss water infrastructure financing issues related to vulnerable and overburdened communities. These issues have gained prominence following the Flint, Mich., water crisis that left a city that has large minority and impoverished populations exposed to high concentrations of lead in its drinking water.

The Environmental Council of the States holds a meeting Thursday at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., to discuss a host of environmental issues including water infrastructure in Flint, Mich. The meeting features Melanie Kenderdine, director of energy policy and systems analysis, and energy counselor to the Department of Energy secretary; and Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for the EPA office of water.

Bloomberg BNA reporter Rachel Leven is covering the news this week.

HFC Phasedown

Parties of the Montreal Protocol began meetings last Friday in Vienna to discuss an amendment that would phase down the short-lived yet incredibly potent chemical hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs. The talks that run through this Saturday, July 23,  attempt to narrow down the issues to a manageable set ahead of Oct. 8-9 meetings in Rwanda where it is believed an amendment could be passed. Yours truly is on the story.

Murray Energy Corp. Trial With EPA Begins

Coal giant Murray Energy Corp.’s lawsuit seeking to compel the EPA to review the impact its Clean Air Act regulations have on jobs begins trial today in West Virginia. The EPA is seeking summary judgment in the lawsuit, arguing it has already spent millions of dollars and produced hundreds of documents as part of the discovery process. The EPA wants to restrict oral argument transcript in the lawsuit while Murray Energy Corp. opposed this action.

PFOA and PFOS Peer Review

A panel convened by the National Toxicology Program will review today a draft systematic study that concluded both perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are presumed to be hazardous to people’s immune systems. The toxicology program will webcast the peer review. Reporter Pat Rizzuto will keep you updated.

California Air

The California Air Resources Board is submitting draft rules to the state’s Office of Administrative Law today. California is looking to limit its statewide greenhouse gas emissions at 258.6 million metric tons in 2030, under a draft regulatory proposal. Currently its emissions cap for 2020 is 431 million metric tons, aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels. To avoid litigation, a super majority vote of the Legislature would need to amend the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, thus allowing emission caps beyond 2020. Reporter Carolyn Whetzel will have the latest from California.