At the national and state level, the EPA imposed policies that make HHWQC more stringent, leading to more impaired waters listings, total maximum daily loads, and costly and unattainable permit limits that would not have significant additional human health protection. The EPA must conclude its reconsideration of these policies.
The EPA’s policies that promote tribal treaty rights in environmental protection led them to pressure states to calculate their HHWQC on unrealistic assumptions, such as a fish consumption rate (FCR) as high as 286 grams/day in the state of Maine.
The EPA could apply the policies to any state with a recognized tribe with a treaty that they believe triggers this new policy. There are more than 40 states in the U.S. with tribes that have treaties.
The PPRC recommends:
- Supporting individual states to set their own water quality standards. The EPA should also make it clear that it will approve state HHWQC that differ from EPA’s national HHWQC, as long as they are scientifically-defensible or are based on site-specific conditions.
- The EPA should complete reconsideration of its policies and withdraw the federal rules it imposed on Washington and Maine and should approve Idaho’s HHWQC.