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 Pennsylvania appellate courts decided a relatively large number of environmental cases during 2018. This survey briefly characterizes those cases under the following categories: Environmental Rights Amendment; pre-emption of local


Continue Reading Significant Environmental Cases in Pa. Courts During 2018 (Part 1)

In response to the widespread impacts of Hurricane Irma in Florida (all coastlines and virtually every community), Speaker Corcoran of the Florida House of Representatives has created a new Committee
Continue Reading Lessons of Hurricane Irma — State of Florida Focus on Hurricane Preparedness and Infrastructure

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

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