Category Archives: Water

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EPA Issues Final Hydraulic Fracturing Report, Concluding that The Practice “Can Impact Drinking Water Resources under Some Circumstances”; Follow-on Federal Regulation Highly Unlikely

When Congress first tasked the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 with studying the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, pundits on both sides of the debate collectively held their breath: at last, they thought, there would be an independent, comprehensive, scientific study of the oil and gas extraction technique. Seven years in the … Continue Reading

Federal Court Rejects Citizen Suit to Force Stormwater Permitting Program

Last week, a federal district court in Rhode Island dismissed a citizen suit that sought to radically expand Clean Water Act stormwater permitting programs. In Conservation Law Found’n v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Civil Action No. 15-165-ML, the plaintiff attempted to invoke a rarely used provision in the Clean Water to mandate that the U.S. … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Declines to Require Permits for Stormwater Discharges from Commercial Properties

How to regulate stormwater discharges from impervious areas such as parking lots remains a hotly disputed environmental issue. Most recently, U.S. EPA Region 9 rejected a petition filed by environmental advocacy groups under the federal Clean Water Act calling for regulation of stormwater discharges into the Alamitos Bay/Los Cerritos Channel watershed in Los Angeles County … Continue Reading

Multiple Challenges Filed Against Massachusetts Small MS4 Stormwater General Permit

The long odyssey of the Massachusetts Small MS4 stormwater general permit continues – the latest chapter involving four separate appeals filed in two courts seeking to modify the permit’s terms.  Issued by U.S. EPA New England, the general permit authorizes stormwater discharges from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (“MS4”) located in Massachusetts. While the … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Settles Public Interest Groups’ Challenge to Industrial Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit

U.S. EPA recently entered into a settlement agreement with public interest groups regarding stormwater permitting requirements that will likely have significant consequences to industrial stormwater dischargers throughout the U.S.  In states not authorized to issue Clean Water Act permits (currently Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Idaho and New Mexico), USEPA retains responsibility for regulating stormwater discharges associated … Continue Reading

Army Corps’ Jurisdictional Determinations Are Immediately Appealable

As previously covered by this blog, on May 31, in a unanimous ruling, the eight-member U.S. Supreme Court held that a final determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) as to whether a property contains “waters of the United States,” subject to Clean Water Act regulations, is a final agency action subject … Continue Reading

Brexit: Environmental Law Implications for the Chemicals Sector

This note addresses the possible legal impact of Brexit on the chemicals sector.  It is one of a series of GTM Alerts designed to assist businesses in identifying the legal issues to consider and address in response to the UK’s referendum vote of 23 June 2016 to withdraw from the European Union.   While Brexit … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Allows Immediate Challenges to Army Corps’ Clean Water Act Determinations

On May 31, 2016, in a unanimous ruling, the United States Supreme Court held that the Army Corps’ determination as to whether “protected waters,” subject to Clean Water Act regulations, are present on a property is subject to judicial review. See United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. No. 15-290 (U.S. May … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Takes Important Step Towards Clean Water Act Permitting Delegation

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has filed legislation that moves Massachusetts one step closer to a long-desired goal:  authorization to administer the Clean Water Act NPDES permitting program.  Currently, Massachusetts is one of only four states (in addition to Idaho, New Hampshire, and New Mexico) that has not been “delegated” this authority. A number of the … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Temporarily Stays Implementation of the Clean Water Rule

In the latest chapter of the ongoing Clean Water Rule saga, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today stayed implementation of that rule.  Jointly promulgated by USEPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on June 29, 2015 (80 Fed. Reg. 37,054), the Clean Water Rule went into effect on August 25, 2015.  The rule substantially … Continue Reading

EPA Tightens Regs On Power Plant Wastewater Discharges

From Kathleen Kline of GT Philadelphia: On September 30, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) finalized a proposed rule to regulate wastewater discharges from power plants.  The new rule sets limits on dissolved pollutants permitted in these discharges, and focus on mercury, selenium, and arsenic—toxic metals previously unregulated in this context. Since the 1980s, … Continue Reading

Clean Water Rule: Confusion Rains Down

The Clean Water Rule, recently promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), continues to generate controversy, confusion and regulatory uncertainty.  Following decades of rulemakings and legal challenges over the scope of the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) jurisdiction, the Clean Water Rule is the most … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Upholds EPA’s Authority for Chesapeake Bay TMDL

The Third Circuit recently determined that EPA acted within its statutory authority in publishing the Chesapeake Bay TMDL in American Farm Bureau Federation v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, No. 13-4079 (3d Cir. July 6, 2015).  My column for the Pennsylvania Law Weekly discusses the decision and the implications for Pennsylvania, a state that did … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Regulates Fertilizer Use to Reduce Nutrient Water Pollution

Following a developing trend around the country, the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (DAR) recently promulgated regulations restricting how fertilizers containing phosphorous, nitrogen or potassium may be applied.  The goal of these regulations is to reduce nutrient loading to waterbodies, which can lead to eutrophication and other negative water quality impacts. The regulations, promulgated at 330 … Continue Reading

Clean Water Act Jurisdiction under the Newly Issued Clean Water Rule

More than 40 years after Congress passed the landmark Clean Water Act, the jurisdictional reach of that statute remains a contentious legal and political issue. By prohibiting the discharge of pollutants to “navigable waters” without a permit, the Act expressly limits its protections to “navigable waters.” The statute defines “navigable waters” as “waters of the … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals Upholds New York’s General Permitting Scheme for Municipal Stormwater Control

In a rare 4-3 split, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the general permit issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) in 2010 for discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems that serve a population under 100,000 throughout New York State (small Ms4s).  At issue was the claim of the … Continue Reading

DC Circuit Hears Oral Argument In Important Clean Air Act Case

On December 3rd, the DC Circuit heard oral argument in a Clean Air Act case that may set important precedents for EPA’s “risk and technology reviews” of existing Clean Air Act emission standards.   National Association for Surface Finishing v. EPA involves a challenge to EPA’s revised chromium emission standards brought by Greenberg Traurig client … Continue Reading

Florida’s Land and Water Legacy Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Florida’s Water and Land Legacy was founded in July 2012 by approximately thirteen environmental groups, including 1000 Friends of Florida, the Sierra Club and Audubon Florida, who with the support primarily of other environmental groups, citizens and civic organizations gathered sufficient signatures from Florida voters to place Amendment 1: the Water and Land Conservation Amendment … Continue Reading

Miami-Dade County Extends Period for Public Comment Regarding Proposed Amendments to the Wellfield Protection Ordinance

As we previously reported, on May 24, 2014, Miami-Dade County opened a period for receipt of public comments regarding its proposal to amend the County’s Potable Water Supply Wellfield Protection Ordinance and associated maps for the Northwest Wellfield and the West Interim Wellfield protection areas. The County has extended the comment period. The new deadline for … Continue Reading

Miami-Dade County, Florida, Proposes Comprehensive Changes To Potable Water Supply Ordinance

On May 24, 2014, Miami-Dade County announced its proposal to amend its Potable Water Supply Wellfield Protection Ordinance and associated maps for the Northwest Wellfield and the West Interim Wellfield protection areas. The County’s announcement was preceded by a May 19, 2014, technical workshop on the proposed changes, with presentations by U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) and the … Continue Reading

EPA Releases Cooling Water Intake Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized standards today that are designed to protect fish and other aquatic life drawn each year into cooling water systems at large power plants and factories.  The rule addresses impingement issues and heat damages that can be caused by cooling water intake structures at large industrial facilities and power plants. … Continue Reading

Federal Stormwater Regulations – Now A Locally Isolated Event?

As evidenced by two recent announcements, US EPA seems to have concluded that broad regulatory programs may not be the best tool for regulating stormwater impacts.  These decisions rely on a more tailored regulatory and technical approach to controlling pollution impacts from stormwater.  In general, this is welcome news for commercial, industrial and institutional property … Continue Reading

Environmental Groups Appeal Federal Court Order Allowing the State of Florida to Adopt Nutrient Standards For Its Waters — March 6, 2014

In a long-running controversy over nutrient standards for Florida waterways, five environmental groups filed a notice of appeal yesterday in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit challenging the order of U.S. district court Judge Hinkle.  Click here  for a copy of the notice of appeal.  Specifically, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the … Continue Reading
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