News & Analysis as of

What’s It All About?

There are many lessons that one could take from the outcome of the seven year (and counting) litigation involving environmental groups and the operators of the Los Angeles County stormwater system. Certainly one lesson is to...more

Post-Construction Stormwater Controls

My last post focused on EPA’s effective denials of three petitions asking the Agency to require broad groups of industrial, commercial and institutional facilities to obtain stormwater permits. Those petitions argued that the...more

Enforcement of Municipal Stormwater Ordinances Is Tricky Business: Failure to Enforce an Ordinance Required Under a Permit Is Not...

Stormwater pollution has become an increasingly important problem. Part of the difficulty in solving it is that it’s not obvious who should be responsible. Should cash-strapped municipalities be on the hook or should it be...more

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

Regulating Stormwater – The Never Ending Saga

As you could probably tell from the number of posts I’ve written on the subject, stormwater fascinates me. Not that I particularly like rain or snow (particularly after this winter!). But, as an environmental concern and...more

2 and 1/2 Strikes and the NGOs May Be Out: EPA Refuses to Exercise Residual Designation Authority

Stormwater regulation is a thorny issue. There is widespread agreement that nutrient run-off can be a significant problem, but little agreement on what to do about it, since stormwater infrastructure is normally managed by...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

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

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

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

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

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

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 1, 2013

Environmental and Policy Focus: Groups concerned over California Environmental Quality Act revisions - Sacramento CBS Local - Jul 29 -- A coalition of business, housing and local government leaders is warning...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

Conservation Groups Petition EPA To Require Stormwater Permits At Existing New England Sites

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and other environmental groups recently filed petitions urging EPA New England, along with other EPA offices in the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest, to use EPA’s Residual Designation Authority...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

WVDEP Finalizes Changes to Natural Gas General Permits and Associated Regulations

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) is in the midst of finalizing changes to general permits and rules in three (3) different areas pertaining to natural gas production and processing. These new...more

New Stormwater Fees in Maryland

During the 2012 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed HB 987, a bill which mandated that the ten separate EPA-licensed storm sewer system (“MS4”) jurisdictions in Maryland (Baltimore City and nine...more

Industry and Developers Affected by Changes to South Carolina’s General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction...

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) has been delegated authority by the EPA to regulate stormwater discharges due to construction activities. An earlier 2006 General Permit is expiring...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

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