The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed listing the northwestern pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata) and the southwestern pond turtle (Actinemys pallida) as threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), with a final listing decision likely to occur next year. Listing the turtles would affect large swaths of California, Oregon, Washington, and parts of Nevada — the northwestern pond currently inhabits portions of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, as well as northern and central California, and the southwestern pond turtle is found in central and southern California from northern Monterey County into Baja California, Mexico. The turtles rely on aquatic habitats such as streams, ponds, and adjacent uplands, and they are found from cool coastal regions to the Mojave River watershed.

Continue Reading Western Pond Turtle Listing Will Impact Land and Water Managers Throughout the Western U.S.

On November 20, with no fanfare at all, not even a press release, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Draft Guidance: Applying the Supreme Court’s County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund Decision in the Clean Water Act Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program to Discharges Through Groundwater. This draft guidance is the agency’s second effort to guide implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 decision, which extends applicability of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program to include the “functional equivalent” of point source discharges of pollutants to waters of the U.S.

Continue Reading EPA’s New Proposed Maui Guidance: Underwhelming and Sneaky

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a new regulation to implement the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 water quality certification program. Continuing the recent practice of promulgating regulations and then promptly replacing them, EPA’s “CWA Section 401 Water Quality Certification Improvement Rule”(the 2023 Rule) replaces the “Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification Rule” that was finalized in 2020 (the 2020 Rule). The 2023 Rule was published in the Federal Register on September 27, 2023 and will become effective on November 27, 2023. This article provides background on the CWA water quality certification program, followed by a deep dive into the 2023 Rule and how it compares to the 2020 Rule.

Continue Reading EPA’s New 401 Certification Rule: Expanded Scope and Unanswered Questions

On October 18, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention submitted a final rule for publication in the Federal Register, amending 40 CFR Part 372, involving reporting requirements for per- and polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS) and supplier notifications for chemicals of special concern. The rule becomes effective 30 days after publication and applies to the reporting year 2024, with reports due July 1, 2025.

Continue Reading US EPA Issues Final Rule on PFAS Relating to Community Right-to-Know and Pollution Prevention Acts

On October 7, 2023, California Governor Newsom signed two landmark bills into law, Senate Bill (SB) 253 and SB-261, imposing new requirements on large companies doing business in California to publicly report their annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate-related risks. These laws apply to both publicly traded and privately held companies, exceeding the scope of the climate disclosure rule proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in March 2022. Our professionals have prepared a more detailed summary here; some key highlights are included below.

Continue Reading California Adopts Landmark GHG Emissions and Climate Risk Reporting Laws

In June 2023, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) adopted revisions to its petroleum bulk storage regulations 6 NYCRR Part 613. The amended regulations become effective on October 17.

Continue Reading New York’s Spill Reporting Revisions Could Significantly Impact Environmental Due Diligence

On July 25, Missouri, Arkansas, and Iowa (the states), along with intervenors American Water Works Association and National Rural Water Association (the water associations), petitioned the Eighth Circuit to review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new rule requiring states to review and report cybersecurity threats to their public water systems (PWS).

Continue Reading EPA Cybersecurity Rule Challenged by States and Water Systems Associations

Public water utilities and 3M have until August 28 to respond to the bipartisan coalition of 22 state attorneys general (AGs) that opposes their proposed $12.5 billion class action settlement over alleged per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination and is seeking to intervene in their litigation.

Continue Reading Plaintiffs and 3M Given August 28 Deadline to Respond to State AGs’ Opposition to $12.5B Settlement in the PFAS Multidistrict Litigation

On August 7, California Attorney General Rob Bonta led a coalition of five state attorneys general (AGs) in filing an amicus letter concerning a proposed class action settlement between DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva, and water providers for $1.185 billion. The AGs contend the settlement amount is far too low given the scope of environmental contamination and health impacts caused by Dupont’s decades-long manufacture and sale of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds.

Continue Reading Five State AGs Write Amicus Letter Concerning Environmental Settlement

On August 7, Nebraska Attorney General (AG) Mike Hilgers and Iowa AG Brenna Bird joined forces to sue the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to fulfill the request by Iowa and Nebraska governors to allow the sale of year-round E15 gasoline.

Continue Reading Nebraska and Iowa AGs Sue Biden Administration’s EPA for Failing to Fulfill Sale of Year-Round E15 Gasoline