EPA’s “Anti-Environment” Regulation and Drinking Water Safety Issues

Andrew J. Yamamoto, Esq., Editor, Scott D. Pinsky, Esq., Environmental Law Editor, InternationalMosaic.com

Re: Proposal to Limit Use of Scientific Evidence in Rulemakings, 83 Fed. Reg. 18,768 (April 30, 2018) – Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2018-0259.
EPA’s “Anti-Environment” Regulation and Drinking Water Safety Issues

One of the many terrifying aspects of the EPA’s proposed “Anti-Environment” Regulation (first proposed by Mr. Pruitt and now overseen by Mr. Wheeler) is that it will undo decades of hard won progress to protect America’s drinking water.

Congress enacted the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. §300f et seq. (1974), in part, to address drinking water issues highlighted by two important studies. The first study was The Industrial Pollution of the Lower Mississippi River in Louisiana (https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe/9100C9IA.TXT?ZyActionD=ZyDocument&Client=EPA&Index=Prior+to+1976&Docs=&Query=&Time=&EndTime=&SearchMethod=1&TocRestrict=n&Toc=&TocEntry=&QField=&QFieldYear=&QFieldMonth=&QFieldDay=&IntQFieldOp=0&ExtQFieldOp=0&XmlQuery=&File=D%3A%5Czyfiles%5CIndex%20Data%5C70thru75%5CTxt%5C00000009%5C9100C9IA.txt&User=ANONYMOUS&Password=anonymous&SortMethod=h%7C-&MaximumDocuments=1&FuzzyDegree=0&ImageQuality=r75g8/r75g8/x150y150g16/i425&Display=p%7Cf&DefSeekPage=x&SearchBack=ZyActionL&Back=ZyActionS&BackDesc=Results%20page&MaximumPages=1&ZyEntry=1&SeekPage=x&ZyPURL)    The second study was the Community Water Supply Study (https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe/9100W0XR.TXT?ZyActionD=ZyDocument&Client=EPA&Index=Prior+to+1976&Docs=&Query=&Time=&EndTime=&SearchMethod=1&TocRestrict=n&Toc=&TocEntry=&QField=&QFieldYear=&QFieldMonth=&QFieldDay=&IntQFieldOp=0&ExtQFieldOp=0&XmlQuery=&File=D%3A%5Czyfiles%5CIndex%20Data%5C70thru75%5CTxt%5C00000015%5C9100W0XR.txt&User=ANONYMOUS&Password=anonymous&SortMethod=h%7C-&MaximumDocuments=1&FuzzyDegree=0&ImageQuality=r75g8/r75g8/x150y150g16/i425&Display=p%7Cf&DefSeekPage=x&SearchBack=ZyActionL&Back=ZyActionS&BackDesc=Results%20page&MaximumPages=1&ZyEntry=1&SeekPage=x&ZyPURL#). PDF copies of both studies are attached.

Had EPA’s proposed “Anti-Environment” Regulation applied to Congress in 1974, the SDWA might never passed and generations of Americans would have drank unsafe, polluted water. Even today, the proposed regulation endangers the health and lives of millions of Americans.

In addition, the two studies add to the growing mountain of scientific evidence that EPA must prepare an EIS before deciding to adopt the proposed regulation.

Some of the highlights of the Community Water Supply Study include: (https://greengroundswell.com/safe-drinking-water-act-of-1974-and-beyond/2013/06/27/)

  • “41% of the 969 systems were delivering inferior or potentially dangerous water to 2.5 million people.
  • 56% of the water systems were considered deficient, including poorly protected groundwater sources, some were said to be archaic.
  • 77% of plant operators were inadequately trained in fundamental water microbiology.
  • Little was known about environmental and health impacts of the 12,000 toxic chemical compounds in industrial use.
  • Insufficient knowledge and technology existed to adequately treat wastewater for reuse as drinking water.”

The following report has figures that shows how water quality has increased over the years: https://permanent.access.gpo.gov/websites/epagov/www.epa.gov/safewater/consumer/trendrpt.pdf

Because of EPA, standards have been established “for more than 90 contaminants, and our compliance data show that more than 90 percent of the nation’s water systems consistently meet those standards. (https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2016/04/moving-forward-for-americas-drinking-water/)”

EPA’s own Regulation Requires it to Prepare an EIS to Address the Tumult Caused by its Proposed Regulation

This afternoon, Messrs. Pinsky and Yamamoto submitted the following additional comments about EPA’s “anti-environment” proposal:
“As explained in our previous comments, there is a wealth of scientific evidence that compels the conclusion that the proposed rule should be rejected as bad for the environment. In addition, the adoption of the proposed rule would constitute arbitrary and capricious action violating the Administrative Procedure Act. Finally, even assuming arguendo that a non-frivolous scientific argument in favor of the proposed regulation could be made, the National Environmental Policy Act requires the preparation of a proper Environmental Impact Statement before the proposed regulation can be adopted.
“As the agency necessarily concedes, “EPA has responsibility to prepare its own NEPA documents for compliance ”. https://www.epa.gov/nepa Significantly, EPA regulations also expressly recognize that NEPA compliance is necessary if “[t]he proposed action is known or expected to cause significant public controversy about a potential environmental impact of the proposed action.” 40 C.F.R. Sect. 6.204(b)(8), https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=e62b352cfd49343307deaef7f6cdc0db&mc=true&node=se40.1.6_1204&rgn=div8 (stating that, in such circumstances, a categorical NEPA exclusion is not applicable).
“In the present case, EPA must prepare a thorough EIS before it adopts the proposed regulation.”
These comments highlight the importance of public participation in EPA proceedings. Mr. Yamamoto explains that, “even if one ignores the scientific and political issues involved, the tremendous public outcry alone would require preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.” Ideally, “the EIS process allows the public to fully consider, analyze and even ‘vent’ about the environmental risks posed by major federal actions”

Comment About Letter from 985 Scientists

This comment was  just submitted concerning the EPA’s retrograde proposal.

Comment: Re: Proposal to Limit Use of Scientific Evidence in Rulemakings, 83 Fed. Reg. 18,768 (April 30, 2018) – Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2018-0259.

We are writing, both as editors of InternationalMosaic.com and individually, to provide additional comments on and objections to the proposal to limit the use of scientific evidence in rulemaking proceedings. Indeed, as was pointed out in, inter alia, our letter dated May 24, 2018, the proposal suffers from multiple fatal flaws that require the proposal’s withdrawal.

For example, in the April 23, 2018 letter submitted by 985 scientists and technical experts, the scientists and technical experts say:

“As scientists and technical experts, we urge you to cease any plans to restrict the types of science that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can use in regulatory decisionmaking. EPA can only adequately protect our air and water and keep us safe from harmful chemicals if it takes full advantage of the wealth of scientific research that is available to the agency.”

For your convenience, an electronic copy of the letter is attached and the letter can be found at: https://www.eenews.net/assets/2018/04/27/document_gw_01.pdf

By itself, the attached letter constitutes legally sufficient evidence to compel the conclusion that the proposed rule must be rejected as bad for the environment. In addition, the letter provides more than sufficient evidence that adoption of the proposed rule without careful and public consideration of the letter constitutes arbitrary and capricious action violating the Administrative Procedure Act. Finally, the letter adds to the abundant evidence that the National Environmental Policy Act requires the preparation of a proper Environmental Impact Statement before the regulation can be adopted.


Andrew J. Yamamoto, Esq,., Editor

Scott D. Pinsky, Esq., Environmental Law Editor


The consequences of treating Orwellian “double speak” as “science”.

In our most recent comment, we discuss three scientific studies that show how the EPA has been able to dramatically improve the quality of life for and the health of millions of Americans. See, e.g., An Association Between Air Pollution and Mortality in Six U.S. Cities, The New England Journal of Medicine (Six Cities Study) http://www.scientificintegrityinstitute.org/Dockery1993.pdf; Particulate Air Pollution as a Predictor of Mortality in a Prospective Study of U.S. Adults, Am J Respir Crit Care Med Vol 151. pp 669-674, 1995 (151 Cities Study) http://www.scientificintegrityinstitute.org/Pope1995.pdf; Reanalysis of the Harvard Six Cities Study and the American Cancer Society of Particulate Air Pollution and Mortality, Particle Epidemiology Reanalysis Project © 2000 Health Effects Institute, Cambridge MA [includes all three studies] https://docs.house.gov/meetings/SY/SY00/20130801/101246/HMTG-113-SY00-20130801-SD026.pdf.  The proposed regulation undercuts “good science” while promoting “junk science”. Put another way, the EPA seeks to undo years of progress under the guise of encouraging scientific “transparency”.

The consequences of the weighty scientific evidence are three-fold. First, the evidence that the proposed regulation is bad compels the conclusion that the proposal should be rejected on the merits. Second, the arbitrary and capricious proposal violates the APA. Third, given that there is no non-frivolous argument that any categorical NEPA exclusion could apply (see our joint comment dated May 24, 2018, https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2018-0259-1037), an EIS that fully discloses the environmental impact of the proposal is required by NEPA.

Ironically, the most transparent aspect of the proposed rule is its nefarious motive.

What is up with the EPA?

Recently, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned at least in part due to numerous “ethics scandals”. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/climate/scott-pruitt-epa-trump.html  Even so it is unclear whether Andrew Wheeler, his planned successor, will make any “policy” as  opposed to “stylistic”  changes. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/new-epa-boss-same-as-old-boss-pruitt-policy-to-stay-intact/2018/07/06/bcfb058e-8125-11e8-b3b5-b61896f90919_story.html?utm_term=.fee579fb1614

In general, InternationalMosaic.com’s editors have taken a dim view of the EPA’s policies during President Trump’s administration. Thus, when Mr. Pruitt proposed a regulation that may eviscerate environmental controls and let polluting industries run rampant, InternationalMosaic.com started objecting. For an example, please see the comments dated May 24, 2018. https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2018-0259-1037

Because the proposed regulation is so important, we urge folks make their own comments before the comment deadline of August 16, 2018.  Comments can be submitted at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2018-0259  At this site you can review the proposed regulation, related documents, and comments. Click on the blue “comment now” button to start your comment.

Why healthcare counts.

A short while ago, I  mused:

“One of the most important issues facing America today is how to provide affordable health care to the public. In an ostensible attempt to repair and replace Obamacare, the House passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017 or AHCA.   At best, the AHCA is controversial.

“Rather than build on the current Obamacare system, AHCA tears it up…. ‘AHCA simply destroys Obamacare and deprives a million Georgians of health coverage (and many millions of other Americans to boot) to give the richest of the rich a huge tax cut.  In a way, the AHCA is like a reverse Robin Hood move to help the super wealthy.’

“‘Earlier this month, the Atlanta Journal Constitution did a poll of voters in Georgia’s heavily contested 6th Congressional District.      http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2017/06/12/ajc-poll-georgia-6th-voters-reject-house-gops-health-care-overhaul/   In the article, the AJC says: ‘Health care is high on the minds of voters in Georgia’s 6th congressional district, but most disapprove of the House GOP’s current proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.’”

“Newsweek says: ‘The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate has received constant waves of criticism over its secret tinkering with the controversial and widely panned American Healthcare Act (AHCA)—even from President Donald Trump, who reportedly said it was ‘’mean’ and asked that it be ‘more generous.’”     http://www.newsweek.com/gop-healthcare-trump-jobs-626351

“Trump’s characterization of the bill, which passed the House of Representatives last month, could very well be correct, and may even affect one of his top campaign promises: boosting the economy and jobs.” http://www.newsweek.com/gop-healthcare-trump-jobs-62635

“A study examining how each state could be affected if it passes the Senate and is written into law, published Wednesday by The Commonwealth Fund, found that by 2026 nearly one million jobs could be lost, state gross domestic product could shrink by $93 billion and businesses could suffer a $148 billion bite.” Ibid.

InternationalMosaic.com emailed a letter asking the two candidates to state their positions on AHCA earlier this week. A copy of the text of the letter is attached.

  Dear Ms. Handel and Mr. Ossoff:

I am writing to you on behalf of the InternationalMosaic.com blogsite.  InternationalMosaic.com tries to develop a free discussion of ideas which matter to the public. Towards this end, I am beginning a new discussion of the future of healthcare in America.

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017 or AHCA.  My question to each of you is whether you support, oppose, are ambivalent about or currently have no position on the AHCA. In any case, after answering that simple question, feel free to provide me an explanation of your position.  The explanation can be up to five pages double spaced 12-point type pages long. Please email your simple response (with your optional explanation) by 3:00 p.m. EST, on June 18, 2017, and I will put on the InternationalMosaic.com blogsite. I will put the responses and explanations on the blogsite in the order I receive them from you.

Given the importance of healthcare issues to the public, some background information is important.

On May 24, 2017, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) and Joint Committee on Taxation (“JCT”) (for convenience, sometimes collectively referred to as CBO) published a report on AHCA.   https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52752  The CBO’s conclusions are striking.

First, “CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under H.R. 1628 than under current law. The increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number projected under current law would reach 19 million in 2020 and 23 million in 2026. In 2026, an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law. Under the legislation, a few million of those people would use tax credits to purchase policies that would not cover major medical risks.” Cf. http://www.mag.org/news/articles/AMA-responds-to-CBOs-AHCA-estimates

Second, with respect to the “Effects on Premiums and Out-of-Pocket Payments […] CBO and JCT projected premiums for single policyholders under H.R. 1628 (before any tax credits were applied) and compared those with the premiums projected under current law for policies purchased in the nongroup market. H.R. 1628, as passed by the House, would tend to increase such premiums before 2020, relative to those under current law—by an average of about 20 percent in 2018 and 5 percent in 2019, as the funding provided by the act to reduce premiums had a larger effect on pricing.” The agencies find it difficult to predict how premiums and out-of-pockets costs will grow after 2019 because AHCA allows states to get waivers that would permit dramatic premium increases and/or dramatic benefit cuts.

     As to Georgia in particular, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Families USA and the Georgia Budget  & Policy Institute have concluded, among many things, that the repeal of Obamacare will cause 1 million people in Georgia to lose health coverage.  http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/12-7-16health-factsheets-ga.pdf   http://familiesusa.org/product/defending-health-care-2017-what-stake-georgia   https://gbpi.org/2016/affordable-care-act-repeal-risks-health-1-million-georgians/

Some of the groups other conclusions about Georgia are equally alarming. For example, Families USA notes if Obamacare is repealed, 4.3 Georgians with pre-existing conditions may lose health coverage.  http://familiesusa.org/product/defending-health-care-2017-what-stake-georgia  As another example, the Center also concludes that the harmful effects of an Obamacare repeal will be felt “immediately”.

The AHCA and Obamacare issues are very important.  Please send your answer to my simple question and an up to five-page response as soon as possible.

Thank you.

New Topic: The Twenty-Fifth Amendment

President Trump’s Unstable and Dangerous Behavior May Continue Triggering the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.

While you might think this is just a bad dream, President Trump may continue to horrify sensible folks in the world.  See  https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/06/12/trump-is-likely-to-get-much-much-worse-here-are-a-few-big-things-to-watch-for/?utm_term=.0cca52bfc71b&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1    (left leaning editorial reporting).

Wikipedia discusses the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution in this linked article.         https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution   Wikipedia describes relevant section 4 of the amendment as follows.

Section 4 is the only part of the amendment that has never been invoked.[25] It allows the Vice President, together with a “majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide”, to declare the President “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” by submitting a written declaration to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. As with Section 3, the Vice President would become Acting President.

Section 4 is meant to be invoked should the President’s incapacitation prevent him from discharging his duties, but he is unable or unwilling to provide the written declaration called for by Section 3. The President may resume exercising the Presidential duties by sending a written declaration to the President pro tempore and the Speaker of the House.

Should the Vice President and Cabinet believe the President is still “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”, they may within four days of the President’s declaration submit another declaration that the President is incapacitated. If not already in session, the Congress must then assemble within 48 hours. The Congress has 21 days to decide the issue. If within the 21 days two-thirds of each house of Congress vote that the President is incapacitated, the Vice President would “continue” to be Acting President. Should the Congress resolve the issue in favor of the President, or make no decision within the 21 days allotted, then the President would “resume” discharging the powers and duties of his office. The use of the words “continue” and “resume” imply that the Vice President remains Acting President while Congress deliberates.

However, the President may again submit a written declaration of recovery to the President pro tempore and the Speaker of the House. That declaration could be responded to by the Acting President and the Cabinet in the same way as stated earlier. The specified 21-day Congressional procedure would start again.

For this reason, I wrote an open letter to Vice President Mike Pence asking him to begin the process under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment of removing President Trump from power.

                                  June 12, 2017


Open Letter to Vice President Mike Pence

Dear Vice-President Pence:

In normal times, the sitting president would have virtually untrammeled control over America’s nuclear arsenal. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/12/01/no-one-can-stop-president-trump-from-using-nuclear-weapons-thats-by-design/?utm_term=.0b0b4039c73 ) This gives our nation the flexibility to quickly respond to serious military threats.  However, a problem arises if President is unable to carefully exercise that awesome power. (See, e.g.,. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2016/08/a_former_nuclear_missile_officer_on_why_trump_is_unfit_to_handle_the_nuclear.html  (arguing that President Trump is unfit to decide whether the world has a nuclear holocaust).

Even if President Trump was fit to perform his duties when he first became president, Robert Mueller’s recent appointment as Special Counsel to investigate Russia’s involvement in America’s 2016 Presidential elections (Time, May 29, 2017, page 29) accelerates the process that has seemed to dislodge President’s arguably loose grip on reality. Indeed, as Mr. Mueller’s investigation grows to include Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law (Time, June 12, 2017, page 27), the investigation will quickly reach the President.  In analogous circumstances, President Richard M. Nixon lost it when he faced his own special investigations and international crises. “President Richard Nixon—ravaged by more than four years of war in Vietnam, 15 months of Watergate investigations and countless nights of intense insomnia—was incapacitated.” Politico, History Dept., That Time Middle East Exploded – And Nixon Was Drunk (Tim Weiner, April 25, 2015).

In troubled times like these, the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution gives America (through the nation’s designated officials) a way out. See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/opinion/25th-amendment-trump.html?_r=0 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/opinion/sunday/donald-trump-watergate-democrats.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

Given the clear threat, that President Trump poses to our nation (and to the rest of the world), I ask you to set in motion the provisions of the Twenty-Fifth  Amendment to remove the President before any tragedy can occur. These are special circumstances when “duty to country” trumps any personal or political loyalty even if the loyalty is “honest loyalty”.

Thank you.


The problem is that President Trump poses an “existential threat” to our nation that will grow as the investigation of the ties between Russia and him and/or his campaign continues.   Of course, we welcome all temperate comments (“pro” or “con”).


Brad Paisley at UCLA – a Nonpolitical Topic

I wanted to go off topic for a bit so here are my unschooled thoughts about the concert I saw last night.

Country Music Star Brad Paisley put on a cool concert last night as his last stop on his “Country Nation College Tour”. Although I have never been to a country music concert before, I really liked this event.  The open air concert was at in the UCLA tennis stadium.

The music was good, and the lyrics upbeat.  I think lyrics count. In my favorite song “River Bank” he waxes nostalgic about enjoying the simple things in life.

During these times when television, movies and music often glorify excessive consumption, the song lets the audience imagine a simpler life.

Also, the concert was filled with a melange of comic parts and ones that tugged the heart stings.  During one of the many humorous moments during the concert he sang the song he sang in a South Park cartoon.

How cool is that?

I definitely will listen to more of Brad Paisley’s music.


Lesson 3: Individuals can help.

With all the disturbing press about the 2016 election campaign, I thought it worth mentioning a couple of the stories I heard over the past 48 hours.

One was about how Drs. West and Pierce broke down color barriers at an Oklahoma YMCA. At the time, only whites were allowed to use the pool. Dr. West invited Dr. Pierce to come for a swim. They both did making Dr. Pierce the first black man to swim there.

In another case, the same doctors (both psychiatrists) worked with others to desegregate a lunch counter.

Rather than spewing incendiary rhetoric, Mr. Trump would benefit the nation and himself by sincerely helping to build bridges to racial, gender and religious minorities.

Lesson 2: America’s democratic system is special.

Mr. Trump’s suggestion that the elections are “rigged” is both sad and scary. See, e.g., http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/16/opinions/rigged-election-opinion-ben-ghiat/index.html

First, the falsehood is sad because it shows how low politics have sunk if a major party candidate can make such a scandalous allegation.

Second, the falsehood is scary because a number of Trump’s supporters believe him. Just making a scurrilous assertion and getting television coverage of your words do not make the assertion true. Repeating a falsehood a thousand times does not make it truer.