News & Analysis as of

Aurora Energy Decision Deems Discharges Prohibited, Leaves Open Question of Permit Shield Applicability

On September 3, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in Alaska Community Action on Toxics v. Aurora Energy Services, LLC, holding that the Clean Water Act General Permit for...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

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 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

EPA Adopts Fish Protection Standards for Cooling Water Intake Structures

The regulation requires power plants and manufacturing facilities to demonstrate that their cooling water withdrawals minimize fish mortality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued regulations under...more

EPA Unveils Final Cooling Water Intake Structures Rule

On May 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its long-awaited rule under Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) imposing requirements for cooling water intake structures (CWIS) at power plants and...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

Low Impact Development’s Supersized Stamp on California Storm Water Regulation

Without much fanfare, low impact development (“LID”) practices have become a dominant trend in federal and California storm water regulation. The California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) and the Regional...more

The Answer, My Friend, Is Not Blowin’ In The Wind: Waste From CAFO Ventilation Fans Does Not Require an NPDES Permit

Earlier this year, in her aptly named post “What the Cluck?”, Patricia Finn Braddock, noted that a state court in North Carolina had held that wastes from poultry farms, blown by ventilators from confinement houses and then...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

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

EPA Proposed Rule Withdraws Construction Stormwater Pollutant Numeric Limits

In a proposed rule to be published today, April 1, 2013, in the Federal Register, the United States Environmental Protection Agency will withdraw the numeric effluent limits for construction stormwater turbidity that the...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

EPA’s New Final Rule on Logging Roads: Not So Final?

On November 30, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final rule revising the Phase I stormwater regulations under the Clean Water Act to clarify that stormwater discharges from logging roads do not...more

Swimming Upstream: 9th Circuit CWA Cases Heading To SCOTUS

Originally published in Law360, New York on August 17, 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review two U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Clean Water Act (CWA) cases. Both cases involve the extent to which...more

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