News Digest - July 19, 2019

The two versions of this year's National Defense Authorization Act passed the House of Representatives, and Senate, last week. Differences between the bills will be negotiated over before final votes to send a single bill to the President. The Senate's NDAA passed first, with bipartisan support, the House's more recently passed bill offers some intriguing areas of disagreement. Language in amendments to the House bill would require the Department of Defense to phase out PFAS-containing firefighting foam by 2025, while the EPA would be require to add PFAS to its list of toxic pollutants. The EPA has set a timeline for considering regulatory action regarding PFAS, with an initial determination to come by early next year.

The Water Environment Federation signed on to an industry letter urging lawmakers to reevaluate the House NDAA language, warning that hasty classification of PFAS without due consideration would leave utilities, providers, and treatment plants liable for discharging or handling PFAS chemicals from other sources.

As Texans prepare for hurricane season, and evaluate our long-term flood resiliency, some planners are looking abroad for inspiration. The Port of Rotterdam's Maeslantkering is a massive storm surge barrier that protects Europe's busiest port, and gives an inkling of what the proposed "Ike Dike" in the Houston Ship Channel might look like. Building and living on low-lying land comes with inherent risk, but the Dutch have been able to mitigate that risk dramatically over the last century with infrastructure and cohesive planning across regions and watersheds.

The National Law Journal discusses what impact textualist interpretation might have for three cases the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing this upcoming term, including Rapanos v. United States and County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

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