News & Analysis as of

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

What You Need To Know About EPA’s New Stormwater Permit

In late September, just before the government shutdown, EPA released its draft “Multi-Sector General Permit” (MSGP) for stormwater discharges from industrial sources. The MSGP is important for two reasons. First, it is 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

More on the Permit Shield Defense: A Permittee Is — Gasp — Entitled to Rely on Regulations and Permits Issued by Delegated State...

Late last month, we noted that a permittee may not rely on the permit shield defense unless it has clearly informed the permitting agency of the nature of its discharge. Now we see the flip side. In Wisconsin Resources...more

EPA Enters into the 21st Century with New Clean Water Act Reporting Requirements

Clean Water Act Discharge Permits to go Electronic - Since the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements were first adopted by EPA back in 1972, the program has undergone significant...more

What Is the Burden In Proving a Violation of a Stormwater Permit? If It Walks Like a Stormwater Discharge …

Those of us who do NPDES work know that enforcement, including citizen enforcement, against industrial point sources can often be all to straightforward. The plaintiff marches into court with a pile of the defendant’s...more

Ninth Circuit Reverses Prior Ruling: Pollution Levels In Monitoring Data Are Sufficient To Hold County Liable For Storm Water...

Urban storm water runoff has been recognized as one of the most significant sources of water pollution in the country. ...more

The Permit Shield Defense: No Shield Absent Full Disclosure

The Clean Water Act permit shield provision provides that compliance with an NPDES permit constitutes compliance with the CWA. What happens the permit does not mention a particular pollutant? In Southern Appalachian...more

Commercial and Residential Developers, Builders and Landlords Face New Storm Water Regulations

On May 8, 2013, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved a new municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit that will have far-reaching impacts on both new development projects and existing facilities...more

The EPA Reaches Back in Time: Appeals Court Allows Government to Veto 404 Permits Issued Years Earlier

Both public and private landowners have to obtain Section 404 discharge permits for the discharge of dredged materials from navigable waters. The Army Corps of Engineers is the permitting authority for the Section 404...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

Supreme Court Confirms EPA’s Interpretation That Logging Roads Do Not Require NPDES Permits

In a 7-1 decision overruling the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) long-standing interpretation that stormwater run-off from logging roads are exempt from NPDES...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

When Do Air Emissions Constitute a Discharge to Waters of the United States? Any Time the Emissions Reach Waters of the United...

In a fascinating post today, my colleague from the American College of Environmental Lawyers, Patricia Finn Braddock, reported on a case at the intersection of the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act that could have...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

Flood Control District Wins Dispute Over Discharge Of Storm Water That Flows Through Improved Portions Of Navigable Waterways

In its most recent foray into the meaning of the Clean Water Act, the Supreme Court has answered the fundamental question: “Does a ‘discharge of pollutants’ occur when polluted water flows from one portion of a river that is...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

Conveyance of Polluted Water Within River Involves No 'Discharge' Under Clean Water Act

The flow of polluted water from a concrete-lined portion of a river into a downstream portion of the same river does not involve a “discharge” for purposes of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) and thus involves no CWA violation,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms Settled Precedent for Regulating Transfers of Water Through Stormwater Systems and Other Water...

On January 8, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned a judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that would have had vast consequences for stormwater systems and other water infrastructure...more

Supreme Court Decision Good News for Dam Owners

On Jan. 8, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that flow from an improved portion of a waterway into an unimproved portion of the same waterway — even if polluted — does not qualify as “discharge of pollutants”...more

Supreme Court Reverses Ninth Circuit: Absent a "Discharge of a Pollutant" Receiving Water Exceedances are not a Violation of Clean...

On January 8, 2013, the United States Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had found that the owner and operator of a storm drain system and permittee under a federal Clean Water Act (CWA) Section...more

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