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Environment | Water

Portland Watches With Interest As NY Reservoir Reviewed

Portland officials made a push Monday to take advantage of new willingness at the federal government to review clean drinking water rules. Portland wants to follow New York’s lead.

The same drinking water rule applies to reservoirs in both Portland and New York City. Environmental Protection Agency head, Lisa Jackson, has promised New York Senator Charles Schumer to review the rule.

Jackson’s letter to Schumer promises a “review process” — but it’s not clear if it’s only for New York, or a broader look at the rule itself.

An EPA spokesman in Seattle says it’s only for New York.

Water bureau commissioner Randy Leonard is reacting to the promise of a review with “extreme surprise” in a letter to Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. Leonard says the review offer is in “stark contrast” to mandates that are pushing Portland to spend $400 million to cap reservoirs.

Leonard is asking if the review and any new compliance options that New York is getting could be available to Portland — especially considering Portland has stricter compliance deadlines than New York.

Opponents of covering Portland’s reservoirs have sent their own letter to Senator Ron Wyden.

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