Category Archives: Clean Water Act

Significant Expansion of Judicial Review Under the Clean Water Act

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Today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedent-setting decision in Hawkes v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, holding that jurisdictional determinations issued under the Clean Water Act are subject to immediate judicial review. Under the Clean Water Act, the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters requires a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (other types of discharges require a permit from the United States Environmental Protection Agency or its state-agency designates). Although on its face seemingly straightforward, the question [...]Read more

Supreme Court To Consider EPA’s Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

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On February 24, 2014, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to EPA’s rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions form stationary sources under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration program. This case comes to Supreme Court as a consolidation of six cases after the D.C. Circuit unanimously upheld portions of the EPA’s greenhouse gas program. The Court granted certiorari a limited question: whether the EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary [...]Read more

Longtime Congressman Henry Waxman to Retire

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Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) will retire after four decades of serving the country as a member of Congress. Waxman served as a leader for the Democratic party on many health and environmental issues over the four decades, including: universal health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid coverage, cost of generic drugs, tobacco regulation, air and water quality standards, pesticide regulation, and climate change efforts. His leadership efforts earned him the spot of Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from January 2009 – January 2011. If you asked Republicans, they would say Rep. Waxman [...]Read more

California Releases Draft Rules for Hydraulic Fracturing

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The California Department of Conservation (DOC) released the state’s proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing. The proposed regulations require well operators to:   Obtain permits from the state before beginning hydraulic fracturing operations; Give 72 hours’ notice to residents near the hydraulic fracturing location before activities begin; Create a groundwater monitoring program certified by the Regional Water Board; and Operators to disclose chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process except those that fall under the trade secret provisions. The regulations [...]Read more

EPA Reaches Settlement for Violations of CAA Section 112(r)

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with Pretium Packaging, LLC for alleged violations of section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). Section 112(r) requires owners and operators of stationary sources that produce, process and store extremely hazardous substances to identify hazards that may occur with an accidental release of the substance(s), to minimizing the potential consequences of an accidental release, and to design and maintain a safe facility. It also requires the implementation of a Risk Management Program (RMP) that includes an executive summary, registration [...]Read more

Two Hydraulic Fracturing Related Bills Introduced

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Rep. Cartwright (D-PA) introduced the “Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation” (FRESHER) Act on March 14, which would remove a provision in the Clean Water Act (CWA), added by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, that exempts oil and gas sites from stormwater permitting requirements. The exemption applies to all uncontaminated runoff from oil and gas sites of any acreage. The FRESHER Act, if passed, would also require the Department of Interior (DOI) to study the impact of stormwater from oil and gas sites on surface water, groundwater [...]Read more

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Flow from One Part to Another of Same Waterway is Not a Discharge under the CWA

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In a 9-0 decision in favor of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District (the District), the U.S. Supreme Court reversed an opinion from the 9th Circuit yesterday, holding water flowing from an improved segment of a navigable waterway into an unimproved segment of the same waterway does not constitute a “discharge of a pollutant” under the Clean Water Act. The District operates a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), which requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) before any storm water discharges into navigable [...]Read more