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Tag Archives: Clean Water Act

U.S. Supreme Court Determines Jurisdiction for WOTUS Challenges

Posted in Energy, Environment
On January 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held that lawsuits challenging the joint EPA-Army Corps rule defining “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) must be filed in federal District Courts. The Supreme Court’s decision overturns the Sixth Circuit’s February 2016 decision that the federal Circuit Courts have exclusive jurisdiction, pursuant to Section 1369(b)(1) of… Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Finalizes Rule Prohibiting Oil/Gas Wastewater Discharges to POTWs

Posted in Energy, Environment
On June 27, 2016 U.S. EPA finalized a regulation under the Clean Water Act that prohibits the discharge of wastewater from certain oil and gas extraction facilities to POTWs. Specifically, the rule applies to onshore extraction from shale and/or tight geologic formations – referred to as unconventional oil and gas resources. EPA determined that current… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds CWA Jurisdictional Determinations are Final Agency Actions

Posted in Energy, Environment
On May 31, 2016, The U.S. Supreme Court held that Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations by the Army Corps of Engineers are final agency actions that can be reviewed by federal courts.  In reaching its decision, the Supreme Court declined to follow a 2014 decision from the Fifth Circuit which held that jurisdictional determinations are… Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Finalizes NSPS OOOO Amendments

Posted in Energy, Environment
On May 12, 2016, U.S. EPA finalized amendments to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the oil and natural gas source category at 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart OOOO, and established new standards at 40 CFR Part 60, Subpart OOOOa.  The final rule establishes standards for greenhouse gas emissions in the form of limitations on… Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Denies En Banc Review of WOTUS Jurisdictional Issue

Posted in Energy, Environment
This entry is a follow-up to our blog post on February 23, 2016 regarding the Sixth Circuit’s decision that it has jurisdiction to adjudicate challenges to the EPA-Army Corps WOTUS rule.  On April 21, 2016, the Sixth Circuit denied six petitions for rehearing en banc.  In order to obtain en banc (full court) review, the issue presented must be… Continue Reading

Ohio Residents Allege Unlawful Transfer of Discharge Permit Authority for CAFOs

Posted in Environment
On August 4, 2014, two Ohio residents filed a complaint in federal court alleging that Ohio EPA violated the Clean Water Act in 2001 when the agency transferred its discharge permitting authority for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to the Ohio Department of Agriculture without notifying U.S. EPA until 2006.  The lawsuit seeks a court order directing that only… Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Proposes Rule Defining “Waters of the United States”

Posted in Environment
On March 25, 2014, U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule redefining "Waters of the United States."  Editorializing a bit, a cursory review of the proposed rule indicates little has been done to clarify whether and how certain streams and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act.  We will follow-up with a more detailed… Continue Reading

A Potential Stop to Clean Water “Power Grab” via EPA Guidance?

Posted in Environment
The Congressional Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure announced today that H.R. 4965 was introduced to "prohibit the Obama Administration from finalizing or implementing the EPA and Corps Clean Water Act ‘guidance’ in order to significantly broaden the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Act."  The press release is good reading if your position is that… Continue Reading

The U.S Supreme Court Decided Today A Significant CWA Case

Posted in Environment
Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously (with two concurring decisions) decided Sackett v. EPA – a case that everyone in the environmental law business has been anxiously awaiting.  The issue concerns whether a USEPA unilateral compliance order issued under the Clean Water Act was subject to judicial review. USEPA had issued the Sacketts a compliance order asserting the Sacketts had illegally… Continue Reading

New (Relatively) KY Oil Pipeline Spill Case

Posted in Energy, Environment
In Mid-Valley Pipeline Co. v. S.J. Louis Construction, Inc., the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky (Northern Division) recently held (among other things) that (a) the Clean Water Act (CWA) allows a pipeline owner to recover penalties, paid to U.S. EPA, from a third party through a contribution or indemnity claim; and (b) a right… Continue Reading

House Will Consider Bill to Rein in EPA to “Restore Balanced Federal-State Regulatory Partnership”

Posted in Environment
We all will likely be reading and hearing more about a US House Bill (H.R. 2018) coming before the full House for a vote – the bill purports to "bring the federal water quality permitting process back to center and help ensure a more stable, clear, and equitable national clean water program."  Find a Press Release here that explains in more… Continue Reading

Navigable Water Guidance

Posted in Energy, Environment
U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have published for comment a guidance document that describes how the agencies intend to identify waters protected by the Clean Water Act and implement the Supreme Court’s decisions in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (531 U.S. 159 (2001))… Continue Reading

CWA – Navigable Waters

Posted in Energy
We have reported previously on the narrowing definition of "navigable waters" under the Clean Water Act, particularly with respect to the federal SPCC Rule (see here, for example; but see here (Rapanos decision in Sixth Circuit)).  The significance of that trend – especially on enforcement – has finally been recognized by those outside of industry… Continue Reading

Clean Water Act – Stepped Up Enforcement

Posted in Environment
On October 15, 2009, US EPA announced its intention to step up enforcement under the Clean Water Act.  The Clean Water Action Enforcement Plan announced by US EPA outlines how it will strengthen the way it addresses water pollution, with the goals of (1) targeting enforcement to the most significant pollution problems; (2) improving transparency… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules on Clean Water Act Section 402 and 404 Distinction

Posted in Environment
On June 22, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its last environmental ruling of the term, discussed the permitting authority distinction between a Clean Water Act Section 402 (NPDES discharge) permit, a Section 306 (pollutants from certain categories of new sources) permit and a Section 404 (fill/dredge) permit.  In Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeastern alaska Conservation… Continue Reading

CWA Fines for Natural Gas Pipeline

Posted in Energy
According to this article in the Register-Guard, a Florida contractor has been ordered to pay $1.5 million in penalties due to violations of the Clean Water Act while constructing a 60-mile natural gas pipeline in 2003.  It goes on to note that penalties were imposed for dirt and sediment discharges to streams and wetlands and despite little evidence of serious environmental harm. … Continue Reading