Entries by Brett Walton

Climate Change Magnifies Health Risks at Every Stage of Life

Floods, droughts, and warming temperatures are already increasing illness and disease risk and may pull back previous health gains, benchmark Lancet Countdown report finds. By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue More people exposed to wildfires. Water temperatures that are more conducive to the growth of Vibrio bacteria, which are responsible for cholera and other debilitating […]

Federal Water Tap, November 11: State Department Notes Mekong River Tensions

The Rundown The EPA proposes waivers to extend coal ash compliance deadlines. The CDC tallies a large increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases last year. A State Department report on the Indo-Pacific region highlights tensions in the Mekong River basin. The EPA selects five PFAS chemicals for a toxicity assessment. The Interior Department develops a permanent […]

As Legionnaires’ Disease Cases Surge, Lawsuits Pile Up

Can legal liability prompt action where regulation has yet to catch up?

Legionnaires’ Disease Cases Soar Again, Set New Record

The reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease in 2018 increased by 33 percent, according to official federal government data.

Federal Water Tap, November 4: House Committee Advances $23.4 Billion Wastewater Infrastructure Bill

The Rundown The Trump administration reportedly is preparing to relax coal ash rules. Sen. Jim Inhofe releases a pared-down version of a Defense authorization bill that omits contentious PFAS provisions. The Senate passes an EPA budget that marginally increases funding, while a House committee approves a bipartisan bill to increase authorized spending for sewer infrastructure. […]

Rising Seas Threaten Tens of Millions More People with Inundation, Study Says. Even That May Underestimate the Impact

The Climate Central study did not account for relative sea-level rise. It assumed that land elevations remained constant. In the dynamic world, that is not the case.

Vast Differences in Legionnaires’ Disease Response by Industry

Outside of healthcare, there are few rules for preventing spread of Legionnaires’ disease in buildings.

Election 2019: State and Local Voters Face Water Infrastructure Funding Decisions

Ballot initiatives in Colorado, Texas, New Orleans, and Portland address flooding, financing, and watershed protection.

Federal Water Tap, October 28: WOTUS Rule Gone As Trump Administration Finalizes Repeal

The Rundown The EPA finalizes a repeal of the Obama administration’s definition of the scope of the Clean Water Act. The EPA also selects 38 water infrastructure projects to apply for $6 billion in low-interest loans and decides to cut two expert advisory committees. Fisheries agencies claim that changes in operations to a federal water […]

Maui Mayor Rejects Clean Water Act Settlement, Aims for Supreme Court Hearing

Internal politics in Maui County muddle a closely watched groundwater case.

Federal Water Tap, October 21: Defense Department Watchdog to Review Military PFAS Use

The Rundown GAO audit finds that federal agencies need more timely reporting on environmental justice activities. EPA political appointees spearheaded water pollution campaign against California, the New York Times reports. A Senate bill encourages voluntary water system partnerships. Academic researchers look at Legionella bacteria in Flint plumbing. The USDA announces $201 million in rural water […]

Leaky Sewers Plunge Small North Carolina Towns into Financial Crisis

Brett WaltonBrett 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 […]