A new E.P.A. policy on perchlorate, which is used in rocket fuel, would revoke a 2011 finding that the chemical should be regulated.
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will not impose any limits on perchlorate, a toxic chemical compound that contaminates water and has been linked to fetal and infant brain damage, according to two Environmental Protection Agency staff members familiar with the decision.
The decision by Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the E.P.A., 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 policy, which acknowledges that exposure to high levels of perchlorate can cause I.Q. damage but opts nevertheless not to limit it, could also set a precedent for the regulation of other chemicals, people familiar with the matter said.
The chemical — which is used in rocket fuel, among other applications — has been under study for more than a decade, but because contamination is widespread, regulations have been difficult.
In 2011, the Obama administration announced that it planned to regulate perchlorate for the first time, reversing a decision by the George W. Bush administration not to control it. But the Defense Department and military contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have waged aggressive efforts to block […]