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

Critical Habitat and the Endangered Species Act: Proposed Revisions to Fundamental Regulatory Concepts

On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the “Services”) issued notices of proposed rules and a proposed policy related to the designation of...more

Fifth Circuit Holds that the Army Corps of Engineers' Jurisdictional Determination Does Not Constitute a Reviewable "Final Agency...

On July 30, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the issuance of a jurisdictional determination (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is not a final agency action subject to...more

Fracking Contractor Sentenced to 28 Months in Prison for Clean Water Act Violation

A federal court in Ohio has handed down a 28-month prison sentence and imposed a $25,000 fine for dumping fracking waste in violation of the Clean Water Act....more

Leaked EPA Draft Offers Insight into Upcoming Shale Wastewater Regulations

The rapid expansion of shale drilling in recent years has brought with it an increase in the wastewater that is generated during the fracking process. One fracking well can produce over one million gallons of wastewater in a...more

D.C. Circuit Validates EPA’s Consultation Process for Reviewing Clean Water Act Permits

On July 11, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Enhanced Coordination Process,” which was developed with the United...more

EPA Re-gains “Green Light” to Regulate Permitting Procedures - D.C. Circuit overturns lower court decisions on EPA permitting...

Two district court orders declaring the federal Environmental Protection Agency acted illegally when it implemented certain permitting procedures for coal mining operations have been vacated by a federal court of appeals....more

Fourth Circuit Affirms Liability for Selenium Discharges - Rejects Permit Shield Defense

By a published decision released on July 11, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a district court decision out of the Western District of Virginia finding that A & G Coal Corporation (“A & G”)...more

New Definition of Waters Protected Under the Clean Water Act Proposed

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have proposed a new rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA)....more

Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Proposed Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Under the...

On April 21, 2014, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (collectively the “Agencies”) released a proposed rule to define the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act...more

Water, Water everywhere …

There were two court decisions this week regarding regulation of Maine rivers, one from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Watts v. BEP, and one federal, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay v. Hydro Kennebec, LLC. ...more

The Clean Water Act - Is groundwater included?

There has been much controversy in the courts as to whether groundwater can be defined as “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Courts are split on this decision, with equal numbers of rulings on both sides. One...more

EPA Wins Two Clean Water Cases in One Day: The Fourth Circuit Affirms a Narrow Construction of the Permit Shield Defense

Yesterday, I noted that the D.C. Circuit rejected challenges to EPA’s Enhanced Coordination Process and Final Guidance on Clean Water Act permitting for mining activities. It was not EPA’s only CWA victory. On the same day,...more

The D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to EPA’s Final Guidance on CWA Coal Mining Permits: EPA Action Has to Be Really, Really, Final...

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Reggie Walton’s decision from 2012 and affirmed EPA’s authority to adopt the “Enhanced Coordination Process” governing coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers in the processing...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - July 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: House holds hearing on proposed ‘Waters of the United States’ rule - Association of California Water Agencies - Jul 9: The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing...more

More Pipeline Development Projects: What America Needs

National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) challenges to pipeline projects and other natural gas infrastructure have become a commonplace tool in recent years for environmental groups seeking to defeat or delay midstream...more

EPA Proposes Change to Clean Water Act Rule and Definition of the Term “Waters of the U.S.”

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a proposed rule changes related to the Clean Water Act and the definition of the term “Waters of the United States.” If adopted, it is believed they will greatly expand...more

The Wind River Reservation Treatment-as-State Controversy: How Confusion Undermines Opportunities for Cooperative Governance

Under certain statutes, tribes can exercise civil jurisdiction over non-Indians. For instance, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act allows tribes to pursue claims for natural resource...more

Comment Period Extended for Proposed EPA Rule Substantially Expanding Federal Jurisdiction Over Waters of the U.S., Including...

On April 21, the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("U.S. EPA") published a proposed rule that expands the federal jurisdiction over "Waters of the United States" under the Federal Clean Water Act ("CWA")....more

EPA Makes Blueberry Farms Collateral Damage in Wetland Battle

One of the important provisions of the 2013 amendments (2013 P.A. 98 or Act 98) to Michigan's wetland statute (Part 303 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act) required the Michigan Department of...more

Update on EPA’s Proposed “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

As we highlighted here a couple of months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule in March that could significantly expand the scope of the federal government’s jurisdiction under the Clean...more

U.S. Supreme Court Allows to Stand Ruling That Sources of Air Pollutants are Subject to State Common Law Tort Claims

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not review a decision by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit allowing state common law tort claims against sources of air pollutants. This spells uncertainty...more

EPA and Army Corps Propose Expansive Regulation Identifying Jurisdictional Waters under the Clean Water Act

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to establish definitive guidelines in a recent case, Rapanos v. U.S.,1 the U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers issued a proposed regulation2 redefining the “waters of the...more

EPA Extends Comment Period on New Rule regarding "Waters of the United States"

As previously reported, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have jointly proposed a regulation re-defining the term “waters of the United States.” If adopted, the regulation would...more

Growing Michigan - Second Quarter 2014

For decades, the Environmental Protection Agency has been charged with administering the United States Clean Water Act. One question that has bedeviled farmers, business owners and individuals – as well as judges and lawyers...more

EPA Promulgates Final Standards for Cooling Water Intake Structures

On May 19, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a long-delayed final rulemaking regulating cooling water intake structures at existing facilities under Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). For more...more

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