Clean Water Act Supreme Court of the United States

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

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus - BP pays record $18.7 billion to settle claims in Gulf oil spill Bloomberg - Jul 2: BP Plc reached a record $18.7 billion agreement to settle all federal and state claims from the 2010...more

New Water Rule Isn't The End of The Story

It appears that Godot has finally made an appearance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released their final rule, years in the making, defining "waters of the United States" under the...more

Clean Water Act: New Rule Significantly Expands Reach of Federal Jurisdiction

On May 27, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) finalized the long-anticipated Clean Water Rule. The Rule defines the term “waters of the United States” as used by...more

EPA/Corps Adopt “Waters of the U.S.” Rule: What’s Next?

Wednesday, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released a prepublication version of the final rule defining “waters of the United States,” the jurisdictional trigger under the Clean Water Act. The term needs defining because...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

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

Supreme Court Asked to Allow Immediate Judicial Review of Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations

A landfill developer has asked the Supreme Court to review a decision of the Fifth Circuit holding that a jurisdictional determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not final agency action subject to judicial review....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

Do You Need To Permit Your Stormwater Discharge?

It has been more than 40 years since Congress created the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) in the 1972 Clean Water Act. Yet, confusion remains about which activities and discharges actually require...more

“Waters of the U.S.” — What’s Not To Understand?

EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers continue their ongoing effort to bring clarity to the tangled mess wrought by the Supreme Court in Rapanos v. U. S. In that 2006 case, a fractured Court issued five separate opinions on the...more

Ninth Circuit’s Fanciful Interpretation of the Clean Water Act Ripe for another Reversal?

Shortly after admonishing the Ninth Circuit for its strained interpretation of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), the Supreme Court may be asked to repeat itself. On January 8, 2013, in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v....more

Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Impacting Environmental and Regulatory Law

The recent term of the United States Supreme Court featured several rulings on environmental and other regulatory issues. This update highlights the major environmental decisions this term, as well as some of the issues the...more

Environmental Law Alert - June 2013: Environmental Cases Decided by the Supreme Court During its Recent Term

Although the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the Voting Rights Act, affirmative action, and gay marriage earned most of the attention during the 2012-2013 term, a number of significant decisions with regard to...more

Supreme Court Willing to Reconsider Deference to Administrative Agencies

Most of the federal government's authority is exercised, on a day-to-day basis, through its administrative agencies. Central to the efficiency of those agencies — such as it is — is the judiciary's substantial deference to...more

Supreme Court Upholds EPA's Logging Road Exception from Clean Water Act NPDES Permitting

On March 20, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center that addresses the issue of "whether the Clean Water Act and its implementing regulations require permits before...more

Supreme Court Reverses 9th Circuit on Logging Roads, Deferring to EPA on Its Industrial Stormwater Rule

On March 20, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 7-1 decision that Clean Water Act permits are not required for stormwater runoff from logging roads. The decision in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center defers...more

No Permit Required For Timber Harvesting

The U. S. Supreme Court’s March 20, 2013, decision in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center is good news for the logging industry. The Clean Water Act (Act) and EPA’s Silvicultural Rule (Regulation) do not require...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - March 22, 2013

In This Issue: Environmental and Policy Focus - U.S. top court rules for timber industry over road runoff; U.S. Supreme Court grants review of plan by forest service to manage Sierra Nevada; Federal Appeals Court...more

U.S. Supreme Court: NPDES Permits Are Not Required For Logging Road Stormwater Runoff

The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed a 2010 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision and reaffirmed that a federal Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) point source discharge permit is not...more

Logging Roads Get A Pass – At Least For Now

Yesterday, in a 7-1 decision with Justice Scalia the lone dissenter, the U.S. Supreme Court handed a major victory to the forest products industry. As it does so often, the Court reversed a Ninth Circuit ruling that had...more

The Supreme Court Reverses the 9th Circuit and Reaffirms Its Earlier Interpretation of ‘Discharge’ Under the Clean Water Act

On January 8, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously in L.A. County Flood Control District v. NRDC that the flow of polluted stormwater from an improved portion of a navigable waterway into an unimproved portion of...more

U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Effort To Hold Stormwater Permit Holder Liable For Condition Of Waters Passing Through

The United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, has acted to limit a potential liability of municipalities and other stormwater permit holders with respect to the condition of waters entering and passing through their...more

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Clean Water Act Opinion

On January 8, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision reversing the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals, held that “the flow of water from an improved portion of a navigable waterway into an unimproved portion of the...more

Supreme Court Offers Comfort To Owners Of Dams And Water Control Facilities

In a ruling that has important implications for the hydropower industry, municipal water control systems, and dam owners everywhere, the U.S. Supreme Court strongly affirmed an earlier holding that a "discharge of a...more

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