Clean Water Act
The Supreme Court declared open season on the nation’s streams and wetlands. New regs are the result.
On August 25, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (“the agencies”) issued a joint rule, which modifies their previous rule on federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act in order to conform with the Supreme Court’s Sackett decision. Sackett was a deeply misguided and harmful ruling — but it is nevertheless the law. The …CONTINUE READING
…or even a guidebook?
During one phase of my misspent youth, I travelled by bicycle in search of adventure and insight. (Hang with me, this relates to environmental management, and I’ll get to that soon.) On one tour, I started in Vietnam, ending up in Pakistan a couple years later, having made some detours and added other means of …CONTINUE READING
The Supreme Court’s wetlands opinion was terrible. Now what we do?
The Supreme Court’s opinion in the Sackett case dramatically curtails the permitting program covering wetlands. We urgently need to find strategies for saving the wetlands the Court left unprotected. We have a number of possible strategies and need to start work on implementing them immediately. Sackett was unquestionably a major blow, reducing federal jurisdiction over …CONTINUE READING
And what the state can do about it
Others have already posted about the Supreme Court’s Sackett decision that significantly cuts back on the geographic scope of Clean Water Act Section 404 regulation protecting wetlands. Understandably, there has been a lot of attention to the direct effects of that change, which means that federal permitting will no longer apply to many wetlands in …CONTINUE READING
Coal is a dirty fuel. It’s not just air pollution or climate change.
EPA proposed new regulations next week to reduce the water pollution impacts of coal-fired power plants. As EPA regulations go, these count as fairly minor. They got a bit of news coverage in coal country and industry publications. But they will eliminate the discharge of thousands of tons of pollutants, including a lot of metals …CONTINUE READING
Climate Change, Water Rights, Environmental Justice & Federalism Issues Highlighted the Ninth Circuit’s Prodigious Environmental Docket This Year
I’ve shared in previous posts my view that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is–after the U.S. Supreme Court–the most influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental and natural resources law. That’s true for two related reasons: first, the sprawling Ninth Circuit encompasses nine different states (including California) and …CONTINUE READING
One of America’s Foundational Environmental Laws Has Proven Transformational, But Requires Updating a Half-Century Later
The Clean Water Act (CWA), one of the nation’s most important environmental laws, is 50 years old today. It’s proven to be one of the most successful of America’s bedrock federal environmental statutes. But the CWA is far from perfect, needs some important updating, and will probably never fully achieve the aspirational goals Congress proclaimed …CONTINUE READING
Interdisciplinary Event Will Assess Landmark Law’s Past, Assess Its Future
On Friday, October 7th, the California Environmental Law & Policy Center at U.C. Davis School of Law will convene a major, day-long conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act. The event will assess the progress the U.S. has made over the past half-century in abating water pollution; focus on some …CONTINUE READING
We’re about to find out in an upcoming case.
What wetlands and waterbodies does the Clean Water Act protect? Congress failed to provide a clear answer when it passed the statute, and the issue has been a bone of contention ever since. The Biden Administration is in the process of issuing a new regulation on the subject. Normally, you’d expect the Supreme Court to …CONTINUE READING
Last week’s D.C. Circuit cases illustrate why environmental lawyers need to understand FERC.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been called the most important environmental agency that no one has heard of. At the end of last week, the D.C. Circuit decided two undramatic FERC cases that illustrate FERC’s environmental significance. One involved a bailout to coal and nuclear plants, the other involved water quality. The first …CONTINUE READING