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Water Policy Report - 10/15/2018

  • EPA's CWA Rule Faces Uncertain Future Despite Wheeler's '30-Day' Target

    EPA's replacement Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction standard faces a highly uncertain future, with agency officials privately warning stakeholders that there is no clear timeline for proposing it because the rule is still under White House review -- despite Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler targeting the rule's release within 30 days.

    1701 words

  • Environmentalists Counter Industry Bid For Nationwide CWA Rule Order

    Environmental groups defending EPA's 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction standard are urging a federal district judge to reject a multi-sector industry coalition's call for a nationwide bar on enforcing the rule, saying the new request is "blatant forum-shopping" in response to the denial of a near-identical motion in another CWA case.

    572 words

  • Supreme Court Urged To Resolve Circuit Split On CWA Groundwater Liability

    The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the county of Maui, HI, are touting a pair of recent appeals court decisions that rejected Clean Water Act (CWA) liability for leaks into groundwater as a further reason for the Supreme Court to take up other cases on the subject, arguing that there is now a circuit split that only the justices can remedy.

    1000 words

  • High Court Urged To Reverse Rulings Finding CWA Groundwater Liability

    GOP-led states, wastewater utilities, county and city governments and a free-market legal group are backing calls for the Supreme Court to reverse novel rulings that imposed Clean Water Act (CWA) liability for pollution that travels through groundwater to surface waters, calling the decisions an unwarranted and unworkable expansion of the law.

    1145 words

  • 'Non-Delegation' Cases Offer Chance For High Court To Limit EPA Powers

    The pending Supreme Court petition over environmental limits on a border wall, along with a just-argued case on sex offender registries, could give the justices an opportunity to limit EPA's rulemaking discretion by strengthening a little-used doctrine that bars Congress from giving the executive branch "unbounded" discretion to regulate.

    1372 words

  • 5th Circuit Judges Doubt EPA Defense Of Utility ELG 'Leachate' Standards

    Appellate judges at oral argument in environmentalists' suit over the Obama EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) effluent guidelines for power plants appeared to doubt the Trump administration's defense of the rule for leaving in place 36-year-old standards for "leachates" -- water that has absorbed, or leached, pollutants from solid waste.

    1473 words

  • EPA Faces Call To Include OLEM In 2019 Oil & Gas Wastewater Rule Decision

    EPA's Office of Water (OW) plans to make a decision by the middle of next year on whether to amend its effluent rules for onshore oil and gas extraction to allow for increased discharge options, but environmentalists fear OW's decision may fail to coordinate with an upcoming waste office decision about the sector.

    1517 words

  • EIP Weighs Options For Pushing Stricter EPA Slaughterhouse ELG

    The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is weighing its options for pushing EPA to update its 2004 effluent limitation guidelines (ELG) for slaughterhouses, following an analysis of discharge data that shows three-quarters of the meat processing plants analyzes violated their permit limits.

    566 words

  • Environmentalists Call For Broader EPA PFAS Policies Under Several Laws

    Environmentalists are calling on EPA to broaden its actions to stem the environmental impacts of the class of non-stick chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including regulating PFAS under multiple environmental laws and launching new testing and monitoring of the chemicals in drinking water systems.

    1924 words

  • Class Action Suit Seeks Industry-Funded Nationwide PFAS Health Studies

    A class action suit brought Oct. 4 against the manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is seeking industry-funded, independent nationwide health studies and testing to determine health effects caused by multiple PFAS -- including the newer replacement chemicals -- found in the blood of nearly all Americans.

    741 words

  • EPA Seeks State Comments For Review Of Potential SDWA Rule Revisions

    EPA is asking for state feedback on a planned voluntary data collection effort to help the agency determine whether any Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) regulations need to be revised, according to a notice scheduled to be published in the Oct. 5 Federal Register.

    487 words

  • Judge Rejects Environmentalists' Bid For Lake Erie Cleanup Plan Mandate

    A federal district court judge has rejected environmentalists' attempt to force EPA to develop a cleanup plan for Lake Erie, saying that while he understands their concerns that Ohio may fail to address excess nutrients in the lake given the state's record to date, the law does not support their arguments.

    1114 words

  • District Court Urged To Deny EPA Bid For Remand Of Maine WQS Rejection

    Two Maine tribes are urging a federal district court to deny EPA's request for a voluntary remand of the agency's 2015 rejection of some of the state's water quality standards (WQS), arguing the agency's stated reasons for seeking a remand fall short of satisfying EPA's legal burden.

    1092 words

  • GOP Senators Urge EPA CWA Section 401 Policy Revisions, Tout Pending Bill

    Republican senators who are seeking legislative changes to the Clean Water Act section 401 water quality certification process are urging EPA to revise its policy on the issue and saying current agency guidance incorrectly characterizes some aspects of the law, while still touting their bill to implement some of the revisions.

    945 words

  • House, Senate Leaders Urge Trump To Sign Water Infrastructure Bill

    House and Senate leaders are urging President Donald Trump to quickly sign bipartisan water infrastructure legislation that expands EPA's drinking water infrastructure program for the first time in 15 years and increases funding levels for a loan program for large drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

    599 words

  • EPW Democrats Say 'Rule Of Law' Requires Undoing Pruitt EPA Rules

    Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) Democrats are urging Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to fulfill his vow to "restore the rule of law" at the agency by undoing several rules issued by his predecessor Scott Pruitt, charging that the prior administrator's policies are legally suspect and should be scrapped.

    679 words

  • Senate GOP Eyes 'Secret Science' Bill To Adopt Policy In EPA's Proposal

    Senate environment committee Republicans are suggesting they will try in the next Congress to move legislation that largely adopts a controversial EPA proposal to bar the agency in rulemaking from relying on scientific data that is not publicly available, with a GOP staffer saying lawmakers' preference is to enact such policies through statute.

    1293 words

  • EPA Readies Regional Office Reorganization Plan For Congress' Review

    EPA plans to soon send to Congress a recently completed plan for reorganizing the agency's regional offices to more closely mirror headquarters' structure and improve coordination, but an official with one of the agency's employee unions is raising concerns that the fast-moving process may not leave adequate time for employee input.

    794 words

  • Idaho Asks EAB To Dismiss 'No-Win' Challenge To CWA Wastewater Permit

    Idaho is urging EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to dismiss environmentalists' appeal of a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit for a wastewater treatment plant, claiming the case could put regulators in a "no-win situation" where they must choose between following a future EAB decision or abiding by state laws governing water pollution.

    895 words

  • EPA Plans To Rewrite Two Contested CWA Permits, Limiting EAB Petitions

    EPA is agreeing to rewrite key elements in a pair of contested Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permits in response to environmental groups' petitions for the agency Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to find them unlawfully lenient, reducing the chance of a ruling from the board that would limit regulators' permit authority going forward.

    603 words

  • 4th Circuit, Army Corps Block Construction Of Mountain Valley Pipeline

    The Army Corps of Engineers has halted use of a streamlined Clean Water Act (CWA) permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in Virginia following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit's vacatur of the permit's use in West Virginia, moves that block construction of the project along its entire route.

    671 words

  • IG's 2019-2023 Plan Targets EPA Goals For Audit, Vows Efficiency Boosts

    EPA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) in its newly unveiled strategic plan for 2019-23 is vowing to quickly open audits of the agency's progress toward six goals that former Administrator Scott Pruitt set for the same time period, while also offering steps for how the OIG plans to improve its own efficiency and effectiveness.

    988 words