82 years after the attack, what is the state of the harbor?
Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the Japanese attack that launched the U.S. into World War II. Those of us who don’t live in Hawaii may not think much about the harbor, but I started to wonder how things were going environmentally there. The geography is more complex than I had expected. I …CONTINUE READING
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
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
The Congressional Review Act remains bad for policy and worse for democratic deliberation.
Last December, the Biden administration issued a rule defining the scope of the federal government’s authority over streams and wetlands. Congressional Republicans vowed to overturn the rule, using a procedure created by the Congressional Review Act. If Congress is going to repeal something, it should be the Congressional Review Act rather than the Biden rule. …CONTINUE READING
The Biggest Environmental Stories of 2022
A lot has happened on the environmental front. Here are the biggest stories of 2022. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, providing $369 billion in tax credit and spending to reduce carbon emissions. California banned the sale of new gas cars in 2035, with several other states now agreeing to follow suit. The Democrats lost …CONTINUE READING
Sackett v. EPA–the Most Important Environmental Case on the Justices’ Current Docket–Will Answer the Key Question of How Far Federal Wetlands Regulation Extends Under the Clean Water Act
Today the U.S. Supreme Court formally begins its 2022-23 Term. First up on the justices’ docket this morning is a major environmental case: Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 21-454. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Over the past half-century, no single CWA issue has proven more contentious and …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
The scope of federal jurisdiction over water bodies and wetlands remains as murky as ever.
The Biden Administration announced on Monday that it would not meet a February target date to issue a revised definition of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. It still plans to issue a revised definition later in the year. That sounds like a very technical issue. But it actually determines the extent to which …CONTINUE READING
State Fills Void Left By Trump Administration’s Weakening of Federal Wetlands Standards
This week California’s State Water Resources Control Board adopted important new rules to protect the state’s remaining wetlands resources. Enacted after over a decade of Board hearings, workshops and deliberation, those rules are overdue, welcome and critically necessary. Their adoption is particularly timely now, given the Trump Administration’s wholesale assault on and erosion of federal …CONTINUE READING