News & Analysis as of

EPA’s Residual Permitting Authority

Continuing on the stormwater theme I began in my last post, the next topic I intend to cover is EPA’s so-called “residual” authority under the Clean Water Act. The statute specifically requires stormwater permits for...more

Federal Court Ruling Creates Effluent Limit Paradox - Violations may lead to suits, penalties under Clean Water Act

A federal judge in West Virginia ruled on March 31, 2014 that holders of water discharge permits, known as NPDES permits, must comply with water quality standards for parameters that the permit only requires to be monitored. ...more

Flood Of Decisions Washes Away EPA Permits On Stormwater

It has been more than 40 years since Congress created the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") as part of the 1972 Clean Water Act. Yet, confusion remains and disputes continue about which activities and...more

State Water Board to Adopt Revised Industrial Storm Water Permit on April 1, 2014

The California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) recently notified the public that it will consider for adoption the final draft of the general NPDES permit that regulates storm water discharges associated...more

2014 Top Energy & Environmental Regulatory Issues

In This Issue: - Environmental Protection Agency ..NAAQS ..Tier 3 & 4 Standards ..Stormwater Control ..Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation ..Clean Water Act Expansion ..Renewable Fuels...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

Federal Court Upholds the Final TMDL for the Chesapeake Bay in Important Decision Involving Cooperative Federalism

In a case of first impression, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania upheld the EPA's authority to establish a final total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that...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

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

California State Water Board Issues New Draft Industrial Storm Water Permit

On July 19, 2013, the California State Water Resources Control Board released its long-awaited 2013 Draft NPDES Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated With Industrial Activities (the "Draft Industrial General...more

Water Quality Law Alert: CA State Water Control Board Opens Public Comment on "Final Draft" of Long-Anticipated Industrial Storm...

As previously reported by my colleague Melissa Foster, on July 19, 2013, the State Water Board published the "Final Draft" of the NPDES Industrial Storm Water General Permit, which is intended to replace the previous version...more

Retroactive Stormwater Permitting of Existing Development – Coming to a Parking Lot Near You?

On July 10, 2013, a consortium of environmental organizations filed a petition with the U.S. EPA, asking the Agency to make a determination under the Clean Water Act (CWA) that stormwater discharges from impervious surfaces...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

Stormwater Alert: Maryland Fee Program About to Become a Reality

The so called "rain tax" is about to hit property owners in Maryland. In April 2012, the Maryland General Assembly enacted a law — known as HB 987 — that requires each of the 10 most populous jurisdictions in Maryland...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

EPA Revises Effluent Guidelines and Standards for Construction and Development

On April 1, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed changes to the Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development Point Source Category (the Proposed Rule)...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

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

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