It's a H0T1, y0

GenX chemicals, Western aridification, renewables to the rescue

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SHAMPOO PLANET: The Biden administration is starting to tackle the PFAS crisis. The EPA has issued non-enforceable, non-regulatory “health advisories” on four classes of PFAS1 including GenX chemicals. The advisories pretty much tell local drinking water system operators, “yo, broheim, this shit is way toxic, so maybe it would be bogus for it to be ganking up your supply. Hang loose!”

Along with the friendly advisories are several billion dollars in funding for local monitoring and treatment. The Food and Drug Administration is increasing its testing for PFAS (while saying there’s no need to worry even when PFAS is detected), and the USDA has new subsidies to help dairies with PFAS-contaminated milk.

But we remain very far from what is very obviously needed, which is a PFAS ban. But if we did that, it would make the Toxic Avenger reboot so much less on the nose.

IT’S NOT THE DROUGHT, IT’S THE ARIDIFICATION: The western drought crisis hearing in the Senate Energy committee yesterday was a hot one, with Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) castigating his colleagues on their climate denial:

“This is not some random event, it’s frankly a direct result of the lack of action on climate that we have seen for more than 20 years. And we all collectively own that.”

Heinrich begged his fellow senators to recognize that this isn’t a temporary crisis, but a process of ongoing, carbon-pollution aridification, a point repeatedly made by the witnesses. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton told the committee:

“There is so much to this that is unprecedented and that is true. But unprecedented is now the reality and the normal in which Reclamation must manage our systems. A warmer, drier West is what we are seeing today.” 

She warned that water deliveries from the Colorado River need to be cut by 2 to 4 million acre-feet next year. That’s a lot. As the LA Times’ Ian James notes, “California is entitled to 4.4 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year, while Arizona’s allotment is 2.8 million.”

And John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority:

“I can assure you from on the ground that the ominous tenor of recent media reports is warranted. What has been a slow motion train wreck for 20 years is accelerating and the moment of reckoning is near.”

“We are 150 feet from 25 million Americans losing access to the Colorado River, and the rate of decline is accelerating,” Entsminger told the senators.

As Montana faces its flooding disaster, reporter-punching governor Greg Gianforte is nowhere to be found, probably hiking the Appalachian Trail or hanging in Cancun. So lieutenant governor Kristen Juras had to sign the disaster declaration.

Ella Nilson reports that wind and solar power are bailing out Texas amid its record energy demand caused by the record, fossil-fueled heat wave. Texan renewables—which the state’s Republicans performatively hate—generated 27 gigawatts of electricity during Sunday's peak demand -- close to 40% of the total needed.

The rapidly spreading Pipeline Fire near Flagstaff Arizona was sparked by a hiker burning his toilet paper, and fueled by the burning of hundreds of billions of tons of coal, oil, and natural gas. The hiker has been arrested and charged with “using a fire during a fire restriction, occupying or using a residence on forest service lands and possession of a controlled substance (marijuana).”

House Agriculture holds a hearing on climate research. Senate Environment and Public Works has a legislative hearing on four coastal and Great Lakes conservation bills, with testimony from U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s Stephen Guertin, Audubon Society CEO Dr. Elizabeth Gray, and South Carolina official Emily Cope. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.) is leading the House Appropriations markup of the $195 billion FY2023 U.S. Department of Agriculture budget.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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1 If you’re interested: the EPA issued interim health advisories on perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and final health advisories for hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt (together referred to as “GenX chemicals”) and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its related compound potassium perfluorobutane sulfonate (together referred to as “PFBS”).

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