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

Food-Processing Sector May Be U.S. EPA’s Next Enforcement Target

Every three years, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets national enforcement initiatives to focus its civil and criminal enforcement resources on specific environmental issues. On September 15, 2015,...more

EPA's Clean Water Rule: Congressional Attempt to Stop is Vetoed, but Pending U.S. Court of Appeals' Stay Remains in Effect

On January 19, 2016, President Obama issued the ninth veto of his presidency, rejecting Joint Resolution 22, a congressional resolution that would have overturned EPA’s recently enacted regulations defining the "waters of the...more

Energy Sector Alert Series: A Legislative Outlook

Over the next eight weeks, we will provide a broad look at current and emerging issues facing the energy sector in a series of alerts. In this series, attorneys from across the firm will discuss issues ranging from...more

2016 Water Outlook

There are several significant regulatory and legal actions involving water issues that are expected to unfold in 2016. Each has the potential to significantly impact the regulated community and all bear watching in 2016. ...more

Bill to Nullify Clean Water Rule Vetoed

On January 19, 2016, President Obama vetoed legislation that, if approved, would have nullified the Clean Water Rule. The controversial rule, which redefines which water bodies qualify as “waters of the United States” under...more

Waters of the U.S. Rule Drowning to Start 2016

Although likely to survive a presidential veto of a joint resolution seeking to nullify the June 29, 2015 rule submitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers amending the definition...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - State lawmaker seeks to close old SoCal Gas wells in Aliso Canyon - Los Angeles Business - Jan 12 State Senator Fran Pavley is calling for Southern California Gas Co. to close older...more

Environmental Notes - January 2016

Dominion Virginia Power (Dominion) operates a coalfired power plant in Chesapeake, Virginia. It maintains permits for its operations, including a Virginia solid waste management permit and a Virginia Pollutant Discharge...more

Virginia Federal Court Holds Groundwater Contamination Triggers Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

Dominion Virginia Power (Dominion) operates a coal-fired power plant in Chesapeake, Virginia. It maintains permits for its operations, including a Virginia solid waste management permit and a Virginia Pollutant Discharge...more

Courts Must Determine The Economic Benefit Of Noncompliance In Assessing CWA Penalties

It is well-known that the “economic benefit of noncompliance” is one of the factors to be evaluated in setting penalties under the Clean Water Act. Thus, it is not surprising that, after an oil spill at Citgo’s facility in...more

Defining the Scope of Waters of the United States: Supreme Court to Decide Whether Federal Courts Will Be Able to Review Clean...

For 30 years developers, agencies and courts have struggled over defining the purview of Clean Water Act jurisdiction (“CWA” or the “Act”). However, three U.S. Supreme Court rulings and a revised federal rule attempting to...more

Supreme Court to Decide if Army Corps Initial Jurisdictional Determination to Regulate Wetlands Under CWA is Ripe for Judicial...

By Andrew H. Perellis, Patrick D. Joyce, and Craig B. Simonsen The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed on Friday to review an important Clean Water Act (CWA) decision issued by the Eighth Circuit in Hawkes Co.,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Important Case Affecting Development in Wetlands

A critical part of the permitting process for many development projects is obtaining federal and state wetland permits. The key wetland authorization is usually a Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...more

2016 Regulatory Forecast: Environmental & Energy Policy

Looking ahead to 2016, federal environmental and energy policies will continue to have a significant impact on businesses across many sectors. That impact will be particularly pronounced as the current Administration...more

Testing the Waters: The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear U.S. Army Corps’ Clean Water Act Determinations Challenge

On December 11, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the Eighth Circuit’s April 2015 ruling that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Army Corps) jurisdictional determinations are final agency actions subject to...more

Supreme Court to Resolve Split on Court Review of Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations

The U.S. Supreme Court decided last week to review a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that jurisdictional determinations under the Clean Water Act are final agency actions subject to judicial...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - December 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether landowners can challenge federal Water Act jurisdiction through pre-enforcement review - Reuters - - Dec 11 The U.S. Supreme Court on...more

Senate Votes To Do Away with WOTUS

In November, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution of disapproval (SJR 22) to get rid of the controversial "Waters of the United States" rule (WOTUS). A wide range of farm groups oppose the legislation which is aimed at...more

Stormwater Permits Are Not One Size Fits All

It’s rare for a stormwater lawsuit to result in a court decision since most settle in the early stages, but a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour in the Western District of Washington provides useful...more

Passive Owner Fined Nearly $160MM for DWH Spill

One unanswered question from the Deepwater Horizon litigation was the Clean Water Act civil penalty liability that would be imposed – or not – on Anadarko Petroleum, a passive owner of a 24% interest in the BP lease. On...more

2nd Circuit case highlights complexities of ballast water regs

Effective control of ship-borne, nonindigenous organisms has proved to be a major challenge to the maritime industry, international maritime organizations, national and local governments, environmental organizations, and,...more

OMB Releases Fall 2015 Regulatory Agenda

Earlier today, the White House Office of Management and Budget released its semi-annual Unified Regulatory Agenda and Regulatory Plan for Fall 2015, covering 59 Federal departments, agencies, and commissions. Entries are...more

When Is A Discharge to Groundwater a Discharge to a Water of the United States?

The Clean Water Act regulates discharges of pollutants to waters of the United States. That term is not understood to include groundwater. The Sierra Club was unhappy about alleged discharges to groundwater from coal ash...more

Presidential Memo Imparts “Moral Obligation” on Agencies to Mitigate Impacts of Natural Resource Development

On Tuesday, November 3, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum: “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment” (“Memorandum”). The Memorandum was sent to the...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - November 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus - Senate votes to block EPA’s clean water rule: The Hill - Nov 4:: The U.S. Senate approved a bill Wednesday to block the Obama administration’s new regulation defining federal authority...more

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