The Biden administration continues to make many major environmental policy actions aimed at climate change, enforcement, and several other issues. GT continues to track these changes in key areas on
Continue Reading TRANSITION THOUGHTS: How Will President Biden’s Elevation of Environmental Justice Within the EPA Affect Your Permitted Facility or Redevelopment Project?

The ongoing battle over Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) – environmentally-beneficial, beyond-compliance projects that defendants agree to undertake for potential penalty mitigation in settlement of environmental enforcement actions – heated up
Continue Reading New Lawsuit Challenges DOJ Policy Prohibiting SEPs

Rejecting the Trump administration’s novel 2019 interpretation that the Clean Water Act never requires permits for pollutant discharges to groundwater, the United States Supreme Court handed down, on April 23,
Continue Reading Supreme Court: Pollutants Reaching Navigable Waters Through Groundwater May Require Permit Under Clean Water Act

On Sept. 25, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz asked the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to initiate the process to establish a Clean Cars Minnesota Rule, which would set both a low-emission vehicle (LEV) standard and a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard. Next month, the MPCA will begin its rulemaking process, with a goal of adopting a final rule by December 2020. If implemented, Minnesota would join 14 states with an LEV standard, 11 of which also have a ZEV standard.

The Minnesota plan is modeled after California LEV and ZEV standards. California has a nearly 50-year-old waiver under the Clean Air Act permitting the state to set stricter emission standards. After indications that the federal government would publish a rule revoking the waiver, California, joined by 22 other states, including Minnesota, and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit seeking to enforce states’ rights to set emission standards more stringent than those imposed by the federal government. The lawsuit presents novel questions under the Clean Air Act including whether a waiver can be revoked, and if so, under what circumstances. Any final rule in Minnesota will be contingent on states retaining the right to adopt more restrictive measures, including through the operative waiver under Sections 209(b) and 177 of the Clean Air Act.   
Continue Reading In Minnesota, More Little Red Corvettes May Soon be Electric

A recent state appellate court decision sharply limited the bases on which Clean Water Act permittees may challenge permitting requirements imposed to comply with a federal Chesapeake Bay “Total Maximum Daily Load” (“TMDL”), often described as a watershed-wide “pollution diet.” The decision directly impacts municipalities with separate stormwater sewer (“MS4”) permits, as well as certain agricultural and other industrial concerns with stormwater requirements.

The Maryland Court of Appeals opinion affirmed water pollution (“NPDES”) permits issued to authorize discharges from two municipal separate storm sewer systems (“MS4s”) to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Md. Dep’t of the Envt. v. County Comm’rs of Carroll County, Nos. 5 & 7, Sept. Term 2018 (Md. Aug. 6, 2019). The court held that state permits issued by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) are required to conform to the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) issued by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Maryland Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) promulgated by MDE and approved by EPA. The permittee may not challenge permit conditions necessary to meet the requirements of the TMDL or the WIP through judicial review of the permit, but instead must have already sought review in federal court of the TMDL. Moreover, EPA’s interpretation of the TMDL is entitled to Chevron deference.
Continue Reading Maryland Court of Appeals Limits Bases for Challenging CWA Permits under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL

The recent United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), claims to modernize and reinforce obligations regarding environmental matters that were previously covered in NAFTA
Continue Reading Environmental Aspects of the United States-Mexico-Canada Commercial Agreement (USMCA)

In the summer of 2004, during Hurricane Frances, an industrial facility released approximately 65 million gallons of process water into Tampa Bay. A group of commercial fishermen promptly filed a
Continue Reading Florida Appellate Court Reverses Class Certification in Commercial Fishing Action Arising From a 65-Million-Gallon Process Water Release Into Tampa Bay

Kathleen Kline authored an article in The Legal Intelligencer titled “Recent Opinions Hold Differing Views on Point Source Discharges Into Waters.”

The article explores two recent opinions from the U.S.


Continue Reading Recent Opinions Hold Differing Views on Point Source Discharges Into Waters