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Water Policy Report - 07/24/2017

  • In High Court Preview, DOJ Seeks Broad Appellate Review Of CWA Rules

    EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are using a district court suit over Clean Water Act (CWA) stormwater permit mandates to seek a broad standard on which CWA suits should be filed in appellate court -- a potential preview of how they will approach the pending Supreme Court case testing where the Obama-era CWA jurisdiction rule should be challenged.

    1334 words

  • Defending State CWA Plan, EPA Seeks To Expand 'Jobs' Ruling Precedent

    EPA is citing the recent precedent-setting appellate court ruling that blocked an industry bid for a sweeping review of how Clean Air Act policies have affected jobs to defend against environmentalists’ suit seeking new cleanup plans for over 500 West Virginia waterbodies, an argument that if successful would expand the precedent on when courts can review citizen suits.

    1361 words

  • EPA Eases 'Paternalistic' Oversight Of State Programs To A 'Trust' Approach

    A top adviser to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and several state officials say the agency appears to be moving away from its close "matter-by-matter" oversight reviewing a slew of individual state actions under delegated agency authority, shifting from the "paternalistic" approach to a broader "trust" that states' programs are adequate.

    982 words

  • Landmark Suit Testing Water Quality Variances Faces Mootness Challenge

    Landmark litigation over EPA's approval of a Montana variance to the state's water quality standards is facing the prospect of dismissal or delay as the defendants in the case say it is moot since the variance at issue expired at the beginning of the month and the agency is now reviewing a new version.

    1144 words

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  • EPA Analysis Could Bolster Potential Shift To States On CWA Jurisdiction

    EPA is floating a new economic analysis that could help the Trump administration make the case for scaling back federal oversight of waterbodies and defer Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction over smaller, isolated or intermittent waters to states, though sources say such a move faces an uncertain future given dwindling state budgets.

    1360 words

  • Environmentalists Raise Early Legal Attacks Over Plan To Delay Utility ELG

    Environmentalists are raising early legal attacks on EPA's proposal to indefinitely delay many provisions of the Obama-era power plant effluent limitation guideline (ELG) by arguing no federal law allows such a stay, though utilities and coal companies argue the the delay is needed to avoid unnecessary compliance costs.

    1595 words

  • EPA Faces Competing Attacks Over Proposed Offshore Drilling Permit

    EPA is facing competing attacks from environmentalists and industry groups over a draft general permit for offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, with industry groups pledging to lobby EPA to ease the permit to comply with recent Trump executive orders while environmentalists are threatening to sue because the plan violates the Clean Water Act (CWA).

    1140 words

  • Bodine Backs Centralized OECA, Squelching Talk Of New Program Function

    EPA enforcement chief nominee Susan Bodine is dismissing earlier discussion that the Trump administration is planning to close down the agency's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) and disperse its functions to program offices, embracing its mission as a centralized entity in EPA headquarters, according to her written response to senators' questions.

    1082 words

  • Pruitt Sets Longer-Term Plans To Remake EPA, Secure Deregulatory Agenda

    Even as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt works to roll back a host of Obama-era rules as a relatively short-term priority, he is preparing a set of medium-term plans for the agency's budget and policy agenda that would remake the agency and institutionalize the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda.

    1609 words

  • Former Officials Eye Stepped-Up Options For Shielding EPA From Trump

    The Environmental Protection Network (EPN), the bipartisan group of former EPA staff that launched earlier this year, is considering a series of options for a stepped up role that would help protect the agency, its staff and its mission from efforts by the Trump administration to decimate it.

    1817 words

  • House Panel Advances SDWA Bill To Boost EPA Infrastructure Loan Funding

    A House subcommittee has advanced with bipartisan support a draft Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) reauthorization bill that would boost funding for EPA's water infrastructure loans and expand the agency's reviews of state programs, even as Senate Democrats are pressing the agency to step up its SDWA oversight, especially on lead contamination.

    1024 words

  • Environmentalists Urge EPA To Strengthen First State CCS Permit Program

    Environmental groups are urging EPA to strengthen North Dakota's Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) permitting program for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) wells before granting the state's first-in-the-nation application for “primacy” to issue such permits.

    1284 words

  • House Panel's Approval Of EPA Spending Bill Offers Prelude To Further Talks

    The House Appropriations Committee has approved an EPA spending bill for fiscal year 2018 that provides the agency with significantly more than what the Trump administration had sought though the bill's passage offers a prelude to further negotiations among both House and Senate lawmakers over funding levels and policy riders.

    1150 words

  • OMB Sees Slight Increase For EPA In FY19 But Renews Push For Overhaul

    The White House budget office has released new guidance for fiscal year 2019 reiterating that EPA could see a slight increase over what the administration sought for FY18, though the office touts the request as an opportunity to present a “comprehensive plan” for “reforming” the government and cutting its workforce, telegraphing continued steep cuts despite signs of Capitol Hill blowback.

    835 words