In Washington State, the EPA is considering whether to delay implementation of a rule that forces Washington State to clean up waterways and ensure fish don’t pose a hazard to people eating them. Tell the EPA you don’t want any time delays!
Under the Clean Water Act, the states must write water quality standards that protect people who eat fish from adverse effects from toxics (including some pesticides) in the fish.
In Washington State, Department of Ecology has operated under a totally inadequate assumption of how much fish people eat, assuming only one fish meal a month for each resident. Ecology’s own studies show their fish consumption assumptions are too low. EPA told Ecology to use a fish consumption rate of at least 175 g/day. The higher number means fewer toxic pollutants allowed in waters, which is safer for fish and people.
Ecology promulgated a draft standard, but withdrew it in July 2015, partly due to widespread criticism that they had manipulated the numbers to result in no real change (they changed the acceptable cancer rate so that the numbers effectively zeroed out). When states fail to develop adequate standards, the EPA must step in and do so within specified time deadlines. EPA stepped in and wrote a draft rule, but is now proposing to delay implementation. This represents a violation of the Clean Water Act, and would mean that people consuming fish in Washington would continue to face higher risks of cancer!
Please urge the EPA to finalize the standard that they wrote for Washington State NOW, which sets the fish consumption rate at 175g per day and retains a risk factor for a 1 in a million cancer standard.
Tribes and environmental groups around Washington State are all behind this effort. We need your voices too.