- Energy regulatory staff recommend moving ahead with the country’s largest dam removal, on the Klamath River.
- Federal agencies begin the process to revise the Bears Ears National Monument management plan.
- A federal health agency completes eight assessments for people exposed to PFAS in drinking water from military bases.
And lastly, President Biden issues a federal emergency declaration for the drinking water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi.
“It’s a matter of investment in an aging system. It’s a matter of whether or not the will [exists] for elected officials — federal, state, and local — to roll up their sleeves and help.” — Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), speaking with CNN about the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi. Thompson represents a congressional district that encompasses the embattled state capital. The American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed last year, included $42 million for Jackson infrastructure, plus hundreds of millions more for the state to distribute. Thompson echoed other local leaders and state Democratic officials in saying that the Republican-led Legislature makes it difficult to secure additional funds for the majority Black city. President Biden declared a federal emergency on August 30.
By the Numbers
8: Communities near military installations that were selected by a federal health agency for PFAS exposure assessments due to the presence of the chemicals in drinking water. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has now published the exposure assessments for all eight communities.
Leadership Issues at USGS Water Lab
An outside audit revealed management problems at a U.S. Geological Survey water lab, E&E News reports.
The audit described low employee morale and poor leadership skills among managers at the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory, in Lakewood, Colorado.
Studies and Reports
Klamath Dam Removal Advances
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff recommended that four dams on the Klamath River be taken down, pushing the country’s largest dam removal and river restoration project closer to the start line.
FERC’s final environmental impact statement concludes that dam removal would help restore salmon and steelhead runs in the southern Oregon and northern California watershed that have been devastated by the impediments to migration.
Removing the dams and related facilities is expected to take 20 months, followed by at least five years of site restoration.
Staff recommended mitigation measures such as a plan to manage erosion, consultations with local agencies on rubble disposal, and addressing the discovery of cultural sites.
The final decision to decommission the dams will be made by the five commissioners.
On the Radar
Bears Ears National Monument
Federal agencies will begin revising a resource management plan for Bears Ears National Monument, federally managed public lands that encompass more than 1.3 million acres in southeast Utah.
The draft document, which will detail land and water use within the monument, is expected in the spring of 2023.
Public comments are being accepted through October 31 and can be submitted via the above link.
Environmental Financial Advisory Board
The expert group that advises the EPA on financing will hold a public meeting on September 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
The board will hear from a pollution prevention workgroup, which is assessing ways to lower the cost of doing so.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton