September 20, 2022

EPA to update Washington’s toxics criteria

Lia Comerford, an Earthrise staff attorney, was recently mentioned in a news story on litigation relating to Washington updating their water quality criteria.

Earthrise has been involved with a case on behalf of Northwest Environmental Advocates regarding the protection of aquatic species, such as salmon and steelhead, under the Clean Water Act. As a result of that lawsuit, a federal court ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday to take the first step towards updating Washington’s water quality standards for 17 key toxic pollutants known to harm endangered salmon, steelhead, and the Southern Resident killer whales that depend upon them. The order is the result of federal district court Judge Marsha J. Pechman’s earlier finding that EPA is compelled to address the Washington Department of Ecology’s long-standing failure to protect aquatic species from toxic pollution after having “unreasonably abandoned its role for years.”
Lia Comerford, a staff attorney at Earthrise Law Center, represents NWEA in this litigation and was quoted saying, “EPA simply has no leg to stand on. The Clean Water Act requires that Washington State have water quality standards to protect fish and wildlife from toxics and neither the EPA nor the Washington Department of Ecology has chosen to meet that requirement.” To read the story where Lia was quoted click here.