Clean Water Act 404

Whither WOTUS?

Trump ordered agencies to reconsider Clean Water Act jurisdiction. Easier said than done.

President Trump ordered EPA and the Army Corps to review the Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule, which sets expansive bounds on federal jurisdiction over water bodies and wetlands. The agencies have sent the White House a proposal to rescind the WOTUS rule and revert to earlier rules until they can come up with a replacement. In my …


Searching For EPA’s Poison Pill

For the third time this year, Republicans in Congress seem to be angling for a government shutdown.  Not only will there be disagreements on funding levels, but the House will insist on attaching riders to appropriations bills preventing agencies from doing various things.  I realize that this may come as a shock, but the House …


EPA vetoes mountaintop removal mining permit

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. If EPA is afraid of the new Congress, you wouldn’t know it from today’s news.  Assistant Administrator Peter Silva issued the Obama administration’s first veto of a Clean Water Act section 404 permit. This veto, which has been working its way through the cumbersome process for more than a year (see here, …


More on EPA approval of the Hobet 45 mountaintop removal permit

Cross-posted at CPR Blog. On Monday, EPA signed off on the Corps of Engineers’ issuance of a Clean Water Act § 404 permit to Hobet Mining for a mountaintop removal coal mining project in West Virginia. The decision is important because it’s the first product of the process announced last fall for joint EPA / …


EPA threatens a mountaintop removal veto

Early on in the Obama administration, EPA did some inconclusive dancing and shuffling about its role in overseeing the issuance of Clean Water Act section 404 permits by the Corps of Engineers for mountaintop removal coal mining projects.  Now, though, EPA is bringing the big guns into position. Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act …


Mountaintop removal update: EPA may grow a spine

EPA today announced that it would review 79 pending applications for Clean Water Act section 404 permits for surface coal mining projects in Appalachia (hat tip: Coal Tattoo). This review is good news, and an indication that EPA may be developing a backbone with respect to the effects of mountaintop removal mining on the region’s …


Coeur Alaska and mountaintop removal mining

As Dan noted below, yesterday the Supreme Court decided its final environmental case of the year, Coeur Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. While Coeur Alaska was not a mountaintop removal case, it does have ramifications for the argument about whether the Clean Water Act allows mountaintop removal coal mining. The central issue in Coeur …


Mountaintop mining update

In March, I wrote here about EPA’s newfound boldness on mountaintop removal mining. Under current regulations, the Corps of Engineers issues permits for that practice under Clean Water Act section 404, but EPA has the authority to veto those permits. EPA, which was entirely passive on the matter under the Bush administration, had sent objections …