Federal Water Tap, May 14: Chemical Contaminants

The Environmental Protection Agency keeps a list of unregulated contaminants from which it pulls chemicals for regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The agency is seeking nominations for additions to the fourth version of the Contaminant Candidate List. Submissions are due by June 22. The third list includes 92 chemical contaminants and 12 microbial contaminants.

Water for Oil Shale
The Army Corps of Engineers announced that oil companies and other industrial users in North Dakota will be able to tap Lake Sakakawea free of charge until the federal government develops a policy for “surplus” water in the reservoir, the Associated Press reports. At first, up to 100,000 acre-feet will be available. The corps operates Garrison Dam, which forms Lake Sakakawea.

Diesel for Fracking
The EPA has issued draft guidance for using diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing. The guidance, which is open for public comment, would apply to the 11 states where the EPA is the permitting authority. Several territories and most tribal lands would also be covered.

Tribal Water Rights
The Crow Tribe, the U.S. government and the state of Montana signed a water rights compact, which, along with a settlement that President Barack Obama signed in 2010, authorizes US$460 million for a water supply system and an irrigation project on the reservation.

Committee Hearings
Last week, a House subcommittee heard testimony about the technology used to extract unconventional fossil fuels, namely oil shale and oil sands.

On Wednesday, a Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing on corporate environmental responsibility. Representatives from GE, Intel, Proctor and Gamble, Eastman Chemical, and FedEx will share their views.

On Thursday, the full Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will convene to discuss the clean energy standard proposed by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.). The eight witnesses represent federal and state government, industry groups, utilities, and research organizations.

Energy Security
The Congressional Budget Office released a report on national energy security, which it defines as “the ability of U.S. households and businesses to accommodate disruptions of supply in energy markets.”

Rural Grants
The Rural Utilities Service, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program has US$497,000 in grant money for rural water projects. Applications must be submitted by June 7 through the grants.gov website.

Superfund
The EPA added three sites to its Superfund list for hazardous waste. Two are in California, and one is in Washington state.

Federal Water Tap is a weekly digest spotting trends in U.S. government water policy. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

Author: Brett Walton  is a Seattle-based reporter for Circle of Blue. He writes our Federal Water Tap, a weekly breakdown of U.S. policy. Interests: Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Pricing, Infrastructure.

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