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Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency will no longer impose limits on perchlorate, a toxic chemical compound linked to fetal and infant brain damage, the New York Times reports.

Where it stands: “The agency has determined that perchlorate does not occur with a frequency and at levels of public health concern, and that regulation of perchlorate does not present a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems,” the draft policy reads, the NYT reported according to unnamed EPA staff members.

The big picture: Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler made the call, which "appears to defy a court order that required the agency to establish a safe drinking-water standard for the chemical by the end of June," the Times writes. The policy acknowledges that perchlorate can cause IQ damage.

  • The EPA last year proposed regulating the chemical compound at 56 micrograms per liter, a limit that's three times higher than what was previously deemed safe.
  • A court ordered the EPA to set a new standard by June, but according to the Times, the agency plans on arguing that it's “not in the public interest” to regulate perchlorate.

What they're saying: An EPA spokesperson told Axios the agency hasn't made a final decision on regulating perchlorate.

"EPA is continuing to work on the final action regarding the regulation of perchlorate in public drinking water systems. EPA’s proposal included four clear options for the public to consider. The agency has not yet made a final decision and any information that is shared or reported now would be premature, inappropriate and would be prejudging the formal process. The next step in the process is to send the final action to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review. The agency expects to complete this step shortly."

Go deeper

Aug 20, 2020 - Technology

Former government officials argue for a new tech agency

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The government should establish a new Digital Platform Agency to regulate major tech firms, three Democratic former federal officials argue in a new paper from Harvard's Shorenstein Center shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: This is the latest proposal being offered up as policymakers weigh possible methods of reining in Big Tech beyond rewriting antitrust laws or taking a gamble on enforcement action under existing ones.

50 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.

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