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Washington, D.C., October 25, 2002—The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed its joint opening brief this week in a legal challenge  to the constitutionality of new federal rules on arsenic in drinking water. The state of Nebraska and CEI are charging that the new arsenic regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act which authorized them, exceed Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause.
EPA has changed the standard for arsenic in drinking water from 50 parts per billion to 10 ppb. The new standard will result in significant economic hardship for many municipalities across the country, forcing them to spend scarce budget funds on eliminating what are already virtually undetectable particles without any measurable human health benefit.
“The demands of the new standard are absurd,” says Angela Logomasini, CEI’s director of risk and environmental policy. “The science has failed to find any adverse impacts of arsenic in U.S. drinking water at the 50 parts per billion level, a standard that has been in place more than 50 years. Many poor Americans will likely suffer disconnection from their current water supply to avoid the costly regulations, leaving the public to access water from substandard sources.”
Logomasini says the federal drinking water regulations will disproportionately affect small municipalities, many in rural areas that have higher than average – but still safe – background levels of arsenic in their local water supplies. High compliance costs will mean that many municipalities will either have to disconnect from their traditional water supplies or move funds from other health and safety services such as fire protection, making the entire community less safe.
The text of CEI’s court filing is available online .
CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information about CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org .