water pollution

Supreme Court overturns Ninth Circuit decision that held L.A. County Flood Control District liable for stormwater pollution in a poorly-reasoned, but narrow, decision

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council.  I’ve blogged about this case before, noting that the Supreme Court’s grant of review in this case was based on a completely mistaken premise.  (If you’re unfamiliar with the case, the linked post explains in …

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The strange saga of how Los Angeles County’s stormwater pollution ended up in the Supreme Court

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council. This case involves a lawsuit by clean-water advocates to require our County Flood Control District to take responsibility for ensuring that polluted stormwater doesn’t impair our local water quality in two local rivers. The Ninth …

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TMDL Fight Brewing in Chesapeake Bay

On December 29, 2010, EPA finalized a plan to reduce nutrient pollution in Chesapeake Bay by implementing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) budget using its Clean Water Act authority. That plan will require a 25% reduction in nitrogen, a 24% reduction in phosphorus and a 20% reduction in sediment throughout the watershed. This includes …

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Happy Birthday, EPA!

Forty years ago, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency by Executive Order.  Here are some of the achievements that EPA lists on its [email protected] website: [W]e’ve reduced 60% of the dangerous air pollutants that cause smog, acid rain, lead poisoning and more. clean air innovations like smokestack scrubbers and catalytic converters in automobiles have …

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Jerry Brown and the Environment

During the campaign, Jerry Brown stressed environmental issues.  His campaign website has a very extensive list of proposed environmental policies.  It’ no surprise that he favors AB 32 and renewable energy, as well as vigorous enforcement of other existing environmental laws.  Some  of the other policies are a little less familiar.  Here are some that …

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The Unintended Consequences of Rapanos

In the Rapanos case, building on its previous ruling in SWANCC, the Supreme Court cut back on federal jurisdiction over water bodies.  The issue before it was the government’s power to control filling of isolated wetlands, and it seems clear that the Court was solely focused on what it considered an inappropriate expansion of federal …

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Two Stories from Eastern Europe

Arthur Max from AP has an excellent piece on the environment in Eastern Europe, contrasting two rivers.  The Danube flows through Germany and then Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria.  It was an environmental disaster, but both the river itself and its environs have been improved greatly for three reasons: (a) the countries involved have …

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Old MacDonald Had a Farm . . .

But unfortunately, the farm wasn’t as bucolic as you might imagine, as the NY Times reports: Agricultural runoff is the single largest source of water pollution in the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the E.P.A. An estimated 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from waterborne parasites, viruses or bacteria, including those stemming from …

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News Flash: Supreme Court Decides Coeur Alaska

In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court decided two issues in this case, over a dissent by Justice Ginsburg.  The first was whether the Clean Air Act gives authority to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, or instead to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to issue a permit for the discharge of …

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Coeur Alaska–A Shifting Legal Position by the Obama Administration?

As the U.S. Supreme Court Term winds down, only one environmental case on the Court’s docket remains undecided: Coeur Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, No. 07-984. That case, which involves the relationship between the Clean Water Act’s water pollution control (NPDES) and its wetlands dredge-and-fill programs, arises in the context of a proposed gold …

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