Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  The US House Subcommittee on Environment, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), took up issues related to PFAS exposure at a hearing last week on September 6th.  Shimkus said the hearing was to start “the dialogue on PFAS,” taking stock of what the government knows, what efforts might best work to contain contamination and “what is preventing people from being helped with cleanup, or avoid contamination of their air, soil, and water.”  Shimkus said, “it’s time to figure out what can be done right now and what needs to be done to respond appropriately to legitimate risks created by PFAS contamination.”  The Subcommittee’s announcement includes an extremely thorough, 22-page summary of PFAS concerns and issues and current, ongoing work.  It lists four broad areas of PFAS research: Human Health/Toxicity; Analytical Methods; Site Characterization/Exposure and Treatment/Remediation, particularly to identify and evaluate methods to reduce PFAS exposures and to treat and remediate drinking water and contaminated sites.
*  EPA’s Office of Inspector General announced last week that it will start a review of whether active municipal solid waste landfills are operating under the appropriate air-quality permit.  OIG’s research will focus on the following: Federal laws and regulations governing municipal solid waste landfill air emissions; the number of active municipal solid waste landfills subject to federal air-permitting requirements; just how many active municipal solid waste landfills actually follow permit requirements; and the procedures or systems in place to identify landfills potentially subject to federal air permitting and emission requirements but without proper permits.  A timetable isn’t included but outreach to EPA departments will likely start soon.  I wonder how methane emissions will be addressed? 
*  NOAA recently highlighted ongoing work of the Pacific Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (PacMAPPS). This is a partnership effort with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect data on the distribution and abundance of marine mammals and seabirds across the Hawaiian Archipelago and along the Washington, Oregon, and California coasts. Survey activities in Hawaii took place from July 6 through December 1, 2017, and included 179 days at sea, split between two NOAA research vessels. Surveys along the Pacific coast began June 26, 2018, and will continue through December 4, 2018.  In a recent announcement NOAA included a link to a blog written by agency personnel working on PacMAPPS.  It’s called “Notes from the Field.” Nice… but just read it and look at it on your lunch hour…

Tom Ewing
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