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Safedrinkingwater.com NEWS Alert No. 2 --  January 22, 2001



This is an update on the Bush Administration's recent actions to freeze EPA and other regulations issued by the outgoing Clinton Administration.  Keep an eye on this space for the latest information as it becomes available. 

Bush Action Creates Uncertainty About Arsenic Rule

  • Commentary:  An Inauguration Day memo from President Bush's Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, to all Agency Heads has resulted in much confusion over when (and even to a much less degree, if) the new USEPA arsenic regulation will be effective. While obviously intended to address the flurry of last-minute regulatory actions by the Clinton Administration, the two-page memo sets forth three categories of regulations which may be stayed until they can be reviewed by Bush appointees and which, presumably, might be changed in some manner.  The three categories addressed are:  (a) no new regulations are to be sent to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) without a Bush appointee approval; (b) those regulations sent to OFR but not published are to be withdrawn; and (c) those regulations published but not yet in effect will have the effective date postponed for 60 days.

    It is not clear which of the categories the arsenic regulation will fall into.

    Part of the confusion was caused by the inability to electronically access the regulation in today's  Federal Register despite USEPA staff statements that it had indeed been published.  This was confirmed by AWWA which was able to obtain a copy through an alternate source.  Follow this link to view an Adobe Acrobat version of the Final Rule as published in the Federal Register.

    Some of the uncertainty is the fact that three other regulations (not limited to USEPA actions) were, according to the OFR, officially "withdrawn" before publication.  Apparently someone from USEPA had taken the "physical" action to do this.  Since as of the date and time of the White House memo, there were no "Bush Administration" appointees in place at USEPA, (presumably Secretary-designate Whitman had not yet taken the oath), it is unclear who could implement the memo.  Neither the USEPA press office nor the SDWA Hotline could clarify the uncertainties.

    It is also unclear whether or how this memo may impact earlier USEPA regulations such as the Radionuclides rule.

    Additional information can be found by following this link: 
  • Bush to try blocking many last minute Clinton actions including arsenic (Washington Post, January 21)

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