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 regarding the protection of aquatic species, such as salmon and steelhead, under the Clean Water Act. Northwest Environmental Advocates (NWEA) filed a lawsuit in 2013 alleging that Washington had abandoned its role in protecting aquatic species because it had not updated its water quality criteria for 17 toxins that are known to harm salmon and steelhead.

If a state fails to play their role in updating their standards, the EPA is supposed to have standards or propose standards that serve as a “backstop”. Lia Comerford, a staff attorney at Earthrise Law Center, is representing NWEA in this most recent round of 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 find out more about the work that Earthrise is doing check out the article here.