Biden Administration Signs Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad
On January 27th, 2021, the Biden Administration signed an “Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” A few of the highlights:
- The order formalizes President Biden’s commitment to make environmental justice a part of the mission of every agency by directing federal agencies to develop programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic, and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities.
- The order initiates the development of a Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool, building off EPA’s EJSCREEN, to identify disadvantaged communities, support the Justice40 Initiative, and inform equitable decision making across the federal government.
- It creates a community notification program to monitor and provide real-time data to the public on current environmental pollution, including emissions, criteria pollutants, and toxins, in frontline and fenceline communities — places with the most significant exposure to such pollution.
- The order also calls for the establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative to put a new generation of Americans to work conserving and restoring public lands and waters, increasing reforestation, increasing carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protecting biodiversity, improving access to recreation, and addressing the changing climate.
- It establishes a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy and a National Climate Task Force charged with planning and implementing the order’s Climate Policy (section 201). The Climate Policy is explicitly identifies the following goals: Reduce climate pollution in every sector; Increase climate resilience; Protect public health; Conserve land, water, and biodiversity; Deliver Environmental Justice; Spur job-creation via clean energy tech and infrastructure; and, Substantively engage state, local, and tribal governments.
Science Transparency Rule Effective Date Delayed to February 5, 2021
On January 27th, 2021, the US District Court for the District of Montana ruled against EPA’s Strengthening Transparency in Pivotal Science Underlying Significant Regulatory Actions and Influential Scientific Information rule. The Court found the rule to be substantive, not procedural. Therefore, EPA lacked sufficient cause to justify the rule being immediately effective upon its January 6th publication. Substantive rules, under the Administrative Procedure Act’s “30-day notice” requirement, may not become effective sooner than 30 days after publication. Likewise, since the rule qualified as a substantive, the Court noted that EPA’s reliance on the Federal Housekeeping Statute to issue the rule “casts into significant doubt whether EPA retains any legal basis to promulgate the Final Rule.” A copy of the decision can be found here.
EPA Published Draft Pesticide General Permit
Reminder: ACWA would very much like to hear from those states/interstates that plan to comment or would like to see ACWA develop a comment letter. A copy of the draft permit can be found here.
ACWA Annual Membership Survey
The ACWA FY2018-FY2022 Strategic Plan directs management to annually survey the membership to evaluate ACWA’s services and member satisfaction. The survey results are intended to assist leadership, management, and staff in planning for the future. This short survey is only 9 questions long and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. This survey is being directed to the primary/main ACWA member representative from each state/interstate and all of their staff that participate on ACWA committees and workgroups. Please complete this survey by February 5, 2021 – thank you!
Meetings and Webinars
EPA Science Training Webinar: ECOTOX Knowledgebase
Date: February 4, 2020 | 3:00-4:00 EST
The ECOTOXicology Knowledgebase (ECOTOX) is a publicly available web-based database providing curated single-chemical toxicity data for aquatic life, terrestrial plants, and wildlife. For over 30 years, ECOTOX has curated ecologically-relevant toxicity data to meet the systematic review and data transparency needs of the U.S. EPA for risk assessments and regulatory decisions. Relevant toxicity data are identified and curated through systematic and transparent procedures to conduct comprehensive literature searches, screen references, apply acceptance criteria, and extract all pertinent study and effects information. Currently, ECOTOX includes data for more than 12,000 chemicals from over 51,000 references. These data can be accessed via an interactive user interface and downloaded for ecological risk assessments, development of Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs), species extrapolation, and serve as a data source for the development of chemical screening and assessment tools for various regulatory applications.
This webinar will provide an overview of ECOTOX including a summary of the literature search, review, and data curation procedures, and detailed examples of querying/downloading data using the interactive ‘Explore’ module to investigate and visualize the data available, the ‘Search’ module to directly query specific species, chemicals, or effects, and the ‘Help’ page to access documentation on processes, controlled vocabularies, and definitions. For more information visit the U.S. EPA’s ECOTOX website.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with registration questions.
EPA Tools & Resources Webinar: EPA PFAS innovative Treatment Team Findings on PFAS Destruction Technologies
Date: February 17, 2021 | 3:00-4:00 PM ET
Registration: Click here
The presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment is one of the most pressing environmental issues facing our nation. The unique chemical characteristics of PFAS lead to their persistence in the environment and make their complete destruction extremely difficult. EPA has been aggressively working to find solutions to address PFAS issues in communities across the nation, including establishment of EPA’s PFAS Innovative Treatment Team (PITT) in spring 2020 – a six-month, dedicated full-time team of EPA researchers brought together to concentrate on exploring disposal and destruction options for PFAS-contaminated waste. During the PITT’s operation, the team worked together to:
- Assess current and emerging PFAS destruction technologies being explored by EPA, universities, other research organizations and industry.
- Explore the efficacy of these PFAS destruction technologies, including consideration of potentially hazardous byproducts.
- Evaluate the feasibility, performance and cost of various PFAS destruction methods to better understand potential solutions.
This presentation will highlight the results of the PITT’s research and next steps for PFAS waste treatment technologies.
Environmental Specialist in GIS and Data Support | Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Water
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Closing Date: February 24, 2021
This position is responsible for updating and maintaining the state’s list of classified waters, along with associated GIS data/metadata and use attainability assessment database. This position also provides general GIS, database, and analytical support to surface water monitoring and assessment programs, maintaining a local geospatial data library, liaising with the agency IT department, uploading water quality data to Federal databases, preparing statistical summaries and analyses, and coordinating with colleagues to produce Integrated Water Quality Assessments and support Triennial Reviews. An incumbent with experience in R programming and/or statistics will have opportunities to participate in 303(d) and 305(b) water body assessments and special projects. In addition, this position provides significant data and logistical support to the Harmful Algal Bloom Response Program, which includes tracking complaints, troubleshooting data/software issues, coordinating field and laboratory tasks, and working with internal and external partners to ensure rapid response and protect human health. Some field work and travel is possible, depending on incumbent’s qualifications and departmental needs.
To find more information on the position and how to apply, please click here (Job ID 198739).
Senior Engineering Technician – Source Control Inspector | City of Lynnwood, WA
Location: Lynnwood, Washington
Closing Date: February 4, 2021
The Senior Engineering Technician – Source Control Inspector sits within the City’s Surface Water Management Division, which is in the Public Works department. Individuals in this position perform independent duties to fulfill the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II permit requirements. The duties include a variety of technical support functions related to surface water and environmental management, NPDES / Clean Water ACT compliance, date entry and mapping, and site inspection.
To find more information on the position and how to apply, please click here.