News & Analysis as of

NPDES Permits Are Construed Narrowly Against the Permittee

In July, we noted that the Clean Water Act’s permit shield defense would be construed narrowly, applying only where a permittee had clearly disclosed that the relevant pollutant to the agency. This week, in Alaska Community...more

New Permit Requires Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids For Offshore Oil and Gas Operations in Southern California

On January 9, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 9, announced that it will require oil and gas operators engaged in hydraulic fracturing off the southern California coast to disclose any chemicals...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

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

Environmental Groups Seek to Impose Selenium Treatment Obligations on Property Owners

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and Sierra Club have filed five (5) lawsuits in the last two months in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, alleging...more

City of Seattle and King County Agree to Major Upgrades to Settle Discharge Violations

To settle an enforcement action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the State of Washington (“State”), King County and the City of Seattle have agreed to complete major upgrades to their local sewage and...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

No Permits Required for Channeled Stormwater Discharges from Logging Roads

Supreme Court ruling gives deference to EPA's interpretation of its own regulations. On March 20, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the consolidated cases of Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and...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

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 Road Runoff Does Not Require an NPDES Permit: The Supreme Court (For Now) Defers to EPA’s Interpretation of Its Own...

Yesterday, in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, the Supreme Court ruled that runoff from logging roads does not constitute a discharge from a point source that requires an NPDES permit. The decision upholds...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

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