EPA Week in Review
Another busy week at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The week started in Music City, as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler spoke at the National Rural Water Association conference, then traveled to visit the Southside Chattanooga Superfund Site to announce the the completion of the Superfund Task Force and issue the Task Force's final report.
On the policy front, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a directive to prioritize efforts to reduce animal testing, and announced $4.25 million in funding to five universities to research the development and use of alternative test methods and strategies that reduce, refine, and/or replace vertebrate animal testing. Additionally, the Administrator ended a regulatory patchwork by repealing a 2015 rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James.
Meanwhile at the 34th Annual WateReuse Symposium in San Diego, California, EPA released the draft National Water Reuse Action Plan that identifies priority actions and the leadership and collaboration that is needed between governmental and nongovernmental organizations to implement these actions.
In concert with the U.S. Department of Justice, yesterday we announced a settlement with Performance Diesel Inc. to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act associated with the manufacture, sale and installation of at least 5,549 aftermarket products that defeat the emissions control systems of heavy-duty diesel engines, which included civil penalty of $1,100,000.
Administrator Wheeler's Tennessee Swing
On Monday, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the Superfund Task Force Final Report at the Southside Lead Site in Chattanooga. "The agency's work was praised by first-year Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner David Salyers, who attended the event and complimented the Trump administration as well as the EPA on its "common-sense" response. The announcement took place at Southside Community Park, which was once a brownfield site - one that was contaminated, remediated and repurposed for another use - before opening as a park in 2017. " (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 9/10/19)
Administrator Wheeler Touted the Superfund Task Force's Accomplishments and Announced Plans to Continue Program Improvements Moving Forward. "By implementing the recommendations over the past two years, the [Superfund] Task Force has helped to provide certainty to communities, states, tribes and developers that the nation's most hazardous sites will be cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible." (The Chattanoogan, 9/10/19)
Administrator Wheeler and Assistant Secretary James sign the final rule at the National Association of Manufacturers Headquarters on Thursday.
Administrator Wheeler Takes Historic Action on Animal Testing
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Announces Plan to Eliminate Reliance on Animal Testing: "The EPA will work to replace animal research with new approach methods (NAMs) that are found to be 'equivalent or better than the animal tests replaced' and will 'remain fully protective of human health and the environment.' The department will also award $4.25 million to five universities to research alternative test methods and strategies. 'This is an effort that the agency will undertake over the next 16 years to improve the science we use for scientific decision and eliminate the need for animals tests,' Wheeler said at a press conference. 'This is a longstanding personal belief on my behalf.'" (Washington Examiner, 9/9/19)
The Move Was Cheered by Animal Rights Groups, Who Attended the Signing at EPA Headquarters.
White Coat Waste Project President and Founder Anthony Belloti: "White Coat Waste Project and its over 2 million supporters applaud Administrator Wheeler and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for unveiling the most comprehensive and aggressive plan in U.S. history to cut wasteful animal testing, a move supported by a supermajority of Americans from all parties."
Humane Society Legislative Fund President Sara Amundson: Under Administrator Wheeler's leadership, EPA continues to forge a pathway to end decades of reliance on conventional animal tests as predictors of risk to humans and our environment. By setting bold goals for EPA-related testing, the agency can help drive science forward - creating a more humane and predictive paradigm for chemical safety assessments."
PETA Regulator Testing Department Director Dr. Amy Clippinger: "PETA is celebrating the EPA's decision to protect animals certainly-but also humans and the environment-by switching from cruel and scientifically flawed animal tests in favor of modern, non-animal testing methods."
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