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Water Policy Report - 08/20/2018

  • Judge Scraps CWA Rule Delay, Reviving Obama-Era Standard In 26 States

    A federal district judge has scrapped EPA's two-year delay on implementing the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction standard, backing environmentalists' claim that the delay violated Administrative Procedure Act (APA) notice-and-comment requirements and reinstating the 2015 jurisdiction standard in 26 states.

    928 words

  • States urge Ohio district court to block Obama-era CWA rule enforcement

    Three GOP-led states say their opponents, including the Trump administration, have failed to make a case opposing a judicial stay of the 2015 jurisdiction rule.

    571 words

  • 'Supplemental' CWA Rule Repeal Draws Attacks Over Factual, Legal Basis

    Opponents of EPA's plan to repeal the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule are attacking the agency's “supplemental” proposal that aims to further justify the effort, arguing that there are major flaws in the factual and legal basis for the repeal and warning that undoing the existing policy will create regulatory uncertainty.

    1569 words

  • 6th Circuit Judges Seek To Avoid Broad CWA Groundwater Liability Ruling

    Appellate judges hearing two groundwater contamination suits against coal ash disposal sites appear to be seeking options to resolve the litigation on narrow grounds without issuing a broad ruling on the contested issue of whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) covers leaks to groundwater, despite calls from all sides in the suits for such a ruling.

    1083 words

  • Backing EPA Panel, Corps Eases States' Ability To Assume CWA 404 Powers

    The Army Corps of Engineers has issued new guidance aimed at encouraging states to assume Clean Water Act (CWA) dredge-and-fill permitting authority, a measure that narrows the scope of waters the Corps would oversee and agrees with an EPA advisory panel finding that states can adequately protect the environment.

    1093 words

  • Barrasso Calls Bill To Limit State CWA Section 401 Authority 'Important'

    Senate environment committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) is pledging to advance legislation to limit states' authority under Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 to review federally permitted projects to determine their impacts on state water quality, despite strong opposition from Democrats and widespread concern from states.

    1377 words

  • States Urge Congress To Drop Plans To Change CWA Section 401 Process

    Governors, attorneys general, state regulators and a host of other state groups are urging Congress to drop plans to amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 certification process, imperiling pending Republican legislation that seeks to limit states' ability to use the authority to block natural gas pipelines and other federally approved infrastructure projects.

    736 words

  • Senate Approves FY19 Bill Maintaining EPA Funds, Teeing Up House Fight

    The Senate has approved a “minibus” fiscal year 2019 spending bill that largely maintains EPA's existing funding level, teeing up a fight with the House that has already approved an FY19 measure to cut funding for the agency's budget by between $100 million and half a billion dollars, depending on which programs are counted as base EPA funding.

    644 words

  • EPA Eyes Alternative Metrics For Revised Water Affordability Guidance

    EPA is exploring at least three new metrics for measuring communities' ability to afford water infrastructure projects as it seeks to respond to congressional and other pressure to revise existing guidance to account for utilities' infrastructure needs and enforcement compliance and move beyond its current, controversial metric of median household income (MHI).

    1414 words

  • NEJAC Doubts Prospect For Water Infrastructure Fixes Absent Funding Boost

    EPA's environmental justice advisors are urging the agency in a draft report to build a broad coalition to press Congress to increase funding for affordable, safe and reliable drinking water, arguing that without the funds, the agency will not be able to advance their advice to address what they call “a defining problem of the 21st century.”

    880 words

  • Limiting EPA Discretion, Court Orders Aggressive Stormwater Regulation

    Environmentalists who have long urged EPA to expand its use of Clean Water Act (CWA) stormwater permits for individual properties have scored a major court victory in California, where a federal judge ruled that the agency must either craft permits for the properties or ban them from discharging any polluted stormwater in impaired watersheds.

    1027 words

  • EPA Defends Discretion To Invoke Policy Priorities In CWA Permit Denials

    EPA is asking a federal district court to back its claim of broad discretion to invoke its policy priorities in denials of petitions from outside groups asking it to launch new Clean Water Act (CWA) rulemakings, rejecting environmentalists' claims that the agency unlawfully denied their bid for EPA to expand the scope of CWA stormwater permits.

    936 words

  • DOJ Urges Court To Uphold Ruling Rejecting CWA Nonpoint Funding Suit

    The Trump administration is urging a federal district court to uphold its decision that environmentalists lacked standing for their suit aiming to block Clean Water Act (CWA) grant funds for Washington state, arguing that the plaintiffs provided “no evidence” to support their standing and have failed to justify reconsidering the ruling.

    820 words

  • EPA Review Of Washington Water Limits Marks Shift On Fish Consumption

    EPA is opting to reconsider a 2016 regulation that revised human health water quality criteria in Washington state to account, in part, for high fish consumption rates among tribes in the state, a move that combined with actions in other states appears to mark a shift in the agency's interpretation of treaty fishing rights.

    1212 words

  • EPA Reverses Position On Maine Water Quality Standards, Seeks Remand

    EPA has changed its position in litigation over its 2015 rejection of some of Maine's water quality standards (WQS) and is now asking a federal court to remand the issue to the agency for reconsideration rather than defend its decision, a move that is drawing opposition from tribal intervenors in the case who fear EPA will now allow weaker standards.

    967 words

  • Water Utilities Seek EPA Focus On Research, Source Control For PFAS

    Wastewater utilities are urging EPA to focus its work on perfluorinated chemicals on research to better understand the fate, transport and toxicity of the chemicals and then to use "heightened source control efforts and certain, specifically tailored regulatory standards," to remove the constituents from the environment.

    1214 words

  • Citing Legal Flaws, States Urge EPA To Withdraw Or Clarify Science Rule

    Citing significant legal flaws, state environmental agencies are urging EPA to withdraw or delay and clarify its proposed rule barring the use in major regulatory decisions of any science where the underlying raw data and models are not publicly available, arguing that the proposal is vague and the agency has not engaged with states on its content.

    1680 words

  • Several States Seek EPA Cost-Benefit Guidance In Lieu Of Criticized Rule

    Several groups representing state environmental regulators are criticizing EPA's consideration of a possible new rule the agency says would increase consistency and transparency of its cost-benefit analyses for regulations, claiming it could clash with statutory directives and calling on EPA to instead pursue any cost-benefit changes in flexible guidance.

    1314 words

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  • In 'Test,' Environmentalists Urge Wheeler To Break With Pruitt On Key Rules

    Environmentalists are urging Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to narrow or scrap a series of proposals that his predecessor Scott Pruitt championed before resigning last month, eyeing the agency’s coming decisions on science policy, climate regulation and other issues as key signs of whether the new acting chief will be “Pruitt 2.0.”

    1135 words

  • Reilly Urges Wheeler To Advance Affirmative Agenda But Doubts Prospects

    William Reilly, who served as EPA administrator during the George H.W. Bush administration, is urging Andrew Wheeler, the agency's new acting chief, to advance an affirmative environmental agenda rather than a continued focus on regulatory rollbacks, but he is also indicating that he does not expect Wheeler to wholeheartedly embrace that advice.

    980 words

  • EPA OIG Confirms Several Pruitt Audits Ongoing, Slated For Release Soon

    EPA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) says several audits of former Administrator Scott Pruitt's ethics scandals, including lavish spending on travel and use of Safe Drinking Water (SDWA) authority to hire staffers at elevated pay levels, are ongoing despite Pruitt's resignation, and the OIG could release several of the reviews this month.

    1103 words

  • Mine companies urge court to reject 'vague' Gold King spill claims

    Two firms facing claims that their 'negligence' contributed to the 2015 Gold King Mine wastewater spill says the plaintiffs must give more detail on how they allegedly helped cause the disaster.

    506 words

  • Navajo Nation residents join suits over EPA Gold King mine spill

    A group of 290 farmers and ranchers from the Navajo Nation have filed a fresh complaint over EPA's role in the 2015 Gold King Mine wastewater spill.

    436 words