Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a statement today in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s action on changing Washington’s clean water standards.
“The Environmental Protection Agency just announced they will change the water quality standards that protect human health in the state of Washington. By taking this unilateral action, the EPA will risk almost certain litigation and cause uncertainty for Washington’s businesses.
“EPA is pretending to honor a state process while at the same time throwing our clean water standards into disarray. We are already well on our way to implementing these standards for Washington businesses in a manner that will not be challenged by the many parties that worked so hard to come to agreement.
“The Washington State Department of Ecology has been working with the current standards and Washington businesses for more than two years to implement them in a flexible manner. The years of work that brought forth the current standards, also known as the fish consumption rule, represent a compromise by Washington’s tribes who worked with the state and EPA to help put them in place.
“As noted by Ecology Director Maia Bellon and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, not only does this illegal act represent bad faith around a process that already occurred, but it is being done without notice or consultation with the state or Washington tribes.
“There is no legal basis for EPA to reconsider standards that Washington has been working to implement for more than two years in order to protect Washingtonians. We are 5-0 in lawsuits filed against President Trump’s EPA, and we continue to defeat the EPA in court because it continues to disregard legally required procedures. President Trump’s EPA does not always seem interested in protecting the environment. The attorney general’s legal team will be very carefully reviewing EPA’s proposal and we will consider all options, including bringing a legal action.
“The state will consider all available options to oppose this effort.”