Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1972 to reduce levels of toxic substances in the nation's water supply and to prevent high levels of new contamination.  The CWA seeks to... more +
The Clean Water Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1972 to reduce levels of toxic substances in the nation's water supply and to prevent high levels of new contamination.  The CWA seeks to accomplish its stated goals by preventing point and nonpoint pollution sources, assisting wastewater treatment facilities and maintaining wetlands. less -
News & Analysis as of

Champlain Hudson Power Express gets Army Corps permit

The Champlain Hudson Power Express, an electric transmission line proposed from Quebec to New York, has completed its federal permitting process according to project developer Transmission Developers Inc. Project...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Army Corps jurisdictional determinations subject to pre-permit judicial review, Eighth Circuit says - Allen Matkins - Apr 13: EPA and Army Corps of Engineers imposition of federal...more

Finality! Common Sense Prevails Over Wetlands Jurisdictional Determinations

“All good things come to those who wait,” certainly is not an expression that applies to property owners who receive wetlands jurisdictional determinations (JD) from the Army Corps of Engineers with which they disagree. ...more

Landowners, Developers Win Big In Wetlands Case

Building on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Eighth Circuit ruled on April 10th that Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can be challenged in a “pre-enforcement”...more

Army Corps Jurisdictional Determinations Subject to Pre-Permit Judicial Review, Eighth Circuit Says

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers imposition of federal Clean Water Act requirements can now be challenged in court without waiting for the agencies to bring an enforcement action, at least in the Eighth Circuit. On April 10,...more

EPA Really Has A Lot Of Discretion In Deciding Whether to Promulgate Water Quality Standards

When a number of citizen groups petitioned EPA to determine that it is necessary under the Clean Water Act to promulgate water quality standards for nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin and the Northern Gulf of...more

Maryland Appellate Court: County Stormwater Permit Violates CWA and State Law - Ruling Throws into Question Numerous State-Issued...

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals (CSA) issued a significant decision in Maryland Department of the Environment, et al. v. Anacostia Riverkeeper, et al., holding that the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Permit (MS4) issued...more

Second District Holds First Tier CEQA Analysis Suffices For Regional Board’s Setting of Novel TMDL For Lake Bed Sediment

In a short published opinion, the Second District Court of Appeal rejected federal Clean Water Act, state Porter Cologne Water Quality Control Act, and CEQA challenges to a regional board’s Basin Plan Amendment establishing a...more

House Bill Would Block EPA From Vetoing Dredge And Fill Permits Issued By Army Corps Of Engineers, and Other Recent CWA...

House Bill Would Block EPA From Vetoing Dredge And Fill Permits Issued By Army Corps Of Engineers: On March 3, 2015, West Virginia's entire House of Representatives delegation re-introduced a bill that is intended "to stop...more

Storm Water Update

We recently informed our clients that there has been an apparent uptick in recent months of citizens suits against storm water permittees for alleged storm water violations under the Clean Water Act. According to a recent...more

Fourth Circuit Upholds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Finding of Jurisdiction Over 4.8 Acres of Wetlands in Chesapeake, Virginia

On March 10, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the U.S. Corps of Engineers (Corps) had lawfully denied a permit to an applicant seeking to fill 4.8 acres of wetlands in order to build...more

Coal and Transportation Companies Challenge Ninth Circuit Decision Limiting CWA Permit Shield Defense

On March 3, 2015, Aurora Energy Services, LLC and the Alaska Railroad Corp. filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to resolve a circuit split regarding the scope of the Clean Water...more

What’s a Significant Nexus? The Answer, My Friend, Is Flowin’ Through the Ditch.

Even assuming that the “significant nexus” test from Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion in Rapanos defines waters of the United States subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction, the question remains what establishes a...more

General Permit Shields Mining Company from Liability for Selenium Discharge

In Sierra Club v ICG Hazard , LLC, 2015 WL 643382, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a Kentucky coal mining company could not be sued by an environmental group for discharging selenium into...more

Beware of Citizen Suits for Storm Water Violations

In recent months several private organizations have sent letters to California businesses informing them that they are in violation of their storm water permits and threatening to sue them under the citizen suit provision of...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus: California lawmakers introduce sweeping new measures to increase renewable energy, cut fossil fuel use - San Jose Mercury News - Feb 10: Last Tuesday, California lawmakers unveiled a...more

The Shale Play Today - February 2015

In This Issue: - Now is the WOTUS of Our Discontent.....: "Waters of the United States" or "WOTUS" in the esoteric taxonomy of the Clean Water Act ("CWA"), is a term with which many are becoming increasingly...more

Déjà Vu All Over Again: CLF and CWRA Try Once More to Get EPA to Regulate Stormwater Discharges to the Charles River

In 2008, EPA made a preliminary determination to use its residual designation authority (RDA) under the Clean Water Act to designate stormwater discharges from two or more acres of impervious surfaces in the Lower Charles...more

The Sixth Circuit Extends the Clean Water Act’s Permit Shield Defense to General Permit Holders

The Sixth Circuit recently ruled that facilities holding a Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Section 402 general permit – one of two types of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permits – may avail themselves of...more

Clean Water Environmental Issues for 2015

There are a handful of legal and regulatory issues on the horizon in 2015 that are worth watching. Some of these issues, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Cooling Water Rule and the U.S. Army Corps of...more

Now is the WOTUS of Our Discontent….

“Waters of the United States” or “WOTUS” in the esoteric taxonomy of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), is a term with which many are becoming increasingly familiar. This deceptively simple phrase is anything but simple in its...more

A Federal Court Rules that Increased Conductivity Impairs a Stream — How Shocking!

On Tuesday, Chief Judge Robert Chambers ruled that Fola Coal Company violated the Clean Water Act by discharging mine waste with sufficiently high levels of conductivity to cause or materially contribute to impairment of...more

Oil Production and Storage Facilities Must Maintain Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans

Small oil production and storage facilities often overlook their obligations to develop and implement oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans. These requirements have been issued by the USEPA under the...more

Victory in Clean Water Act Case Saves Community’s Water Supply

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck secured a decision in the federal court for the District of Colorado precluding third parties from closing a Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) well that supplies water for Brownstein’s client,...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Applies Pollution Exclusion to Well Contaminated with Manure

Recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the pollution exclusion applies to well water contamination arising from the application of manure to nearby farmland, relieving a general liability insurer of its duty to...more

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