Clean Water Act

Chesapeake

EPA needs to take a hand to keep the restoration plan on track. We’ll see how that goes soon.

The effort to restore Chesapeake Bay is something I knew vaguely about but had never looked into. A new on-line  dashboard of relevant material inspired me to take a deeper dive. The restoration plan is definitely worth a closer look., It’s the U.S. leading effort to reduce“nonpoint source” water pollution such as agricultural runoff. It …

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Ninth Circuit rules Clean Water Act permit required for indirect discharge to ocean waters

Maui County can’t evade permitting requirements by sending wastewater to injection wells hydrologically connected to ocean waters

It was a great exam question (at least I thought so — you’ll have to ask my Environmental Law and Policy students if they agree): does the disposal of treated wastewater from a municipal wastewater treatment plant into the ground through injection wells located a short distance from the ocean require  an NPDES permit under …

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How Difficult Will It Be for the Trump Administration to Replace the Clean Water Rule?

The Administration is Poised to Act, But Legal Challenges, Procedural Hurdles, and Internal Conflict Are Likely to Make It Difficult

On Monday, I posted a quick summary of the Trump administration’s recent action to start rolling back the Clean Water Rule, a joint rule by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that defines the range of waterways the Clean Water Act protects.   The proposed action the agencies announced last week, …

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The EPA Sets in Motion its Plan to Rescind the Waters of the United States Rule

This Action is Just the First Step Towards Reducing Clean Water Act Protection for Many Waterways and Wetlands

With much fanfare, the Trump administration announced last Tuesday that it is proposing to rescind the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule.  This rule is intended to govern determinations of which waterbodies and wetlands are “waters of the United States,” protected under the Clean Water Act.  The …

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A Coalition of the Willing

States need to work together to make progress happen in the age of Trump.

In the short time since the election, it’s already become a truism that state governments will have to keep the flame alive for environmental protection. But it’s not just individual state governments. It’s also crucial for states to work together. There’s been a lot of loose talk about “Calexit” out here. Secession is unconstitutional. (As …

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The California Supreme Court’s Top Environmental Law Decisions of 2016

CEQA, Property Rights, Preemption & Clean Water Act Highlight Supreme Court’s Environmental Docket

While 2016 was a quiet year for the U.S. Supreme Court when it came to environmental law, the same cannot be said for the California Supreme Court.  To the contrary, 2016 continued a pronounced and significant trend by the California Supreme Court justices in recent years to hear and decide numerous important environmental law issues …

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The Clean Water Act, Federalism, Big Money and the California Supreme Court

Ill-considered Supreme Court Decision Threatens California’s Administration of Clean Water Act Permit Program

The California Supreme Court recently issued a little-noticed decision on a seemingly arcane state public finance issue that could well wind up having a dramatic, negative effect on California’s continued ability to administer the federal Clean Water Act’s permit program in the Golden State. The case is Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates.  In …

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Of Pipelines, Protests, and General Permits

A fight in North Dakota reveals problems in how we permit and review large infrastructure projects

Native American tribes and environmental groups are currently protesting the completion of an oil pipeline in North Dakota.  The pipeline would travel beneath the Missouri River.  Tribes and environmentalists are fighting the pipeline both through litigation and also through direct action (occupying the site where the construction to complete the pipeline beneath the river would …

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Strong Regs, Spotty Enforcement

Environmental enforcement could use a big boost.

The political debate over regulation tends to focus on the regulations themselves. But enforcing the regulations is just as important. Despite what you might think from the howls of business groups and conservative commentators, the enforcement system is not nearly as strong as it should be. Twenty years after passage of the Clean Water Act, roughly …

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Supreme Court Deals Obama Administration Blow in Clean Water Act Case

Supreme Court allows lawsuits early in Clean Water Act permitting process, as Justice Kennedy ominously questions the Act’s reach

The Supreme Court today dealt another blow to the Obama administration in a Clean Water Act case. The Court’s unanimous opinion in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., No. 15-290, addressed the finality of an Army Corps “approved jurisdictional determination” (JD) on whether a particular parcel of property contains “waters of the …

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