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In a move consistent with EPA’s recent uptick in oversight of state regulatory programs, EPA has proposed to establish federal water quality standards (WQS) for human health criteria (HHC) for Washington state. The proposal comes less than two months after the Office of Water rescinded a memorandum that directed EPA regions to comply with Clean Water Act statutory deadlines and give sufficient deference to technical determinations made by states that administer EPA-approved delegated Clean Water Act programs. While the proposal itself is not surprising — EPA telegraphed that it would take this action early in this administration — the timing of the proposal is somewhat surprising.
Continue Reading EPA Proposes Federal Water Quality Standards for Washington State

Anna and Dave welcome Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig to talk soil health, creative financing, and the future of watershed management in Iowa. They also discuss the state’s ongoing work as part of the Hypoxia Task Force.
Continue Reading Innovation in Iowa: Talking About the Future of Watershed Management With Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig

WateReuse Association Executive Director Pat Sinicropi joins Anna Wildeman and Dave Ross to talk about the role of water reuse as a water management strategy for the 21st century. Specifically, Pat discusses water reuse technology, the role of the federal government in encouraging water recycling as a national strategy, and state and local community efforts to accelerate the adoption of water reuse in businesses and communities across the country.
Continue Reading Reuse to the Rescue: Talking Water Reuse with Pat Sinicropi, Executive Director, WateReuse Association

On February 16, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published in the Federal Register new interim guidance that is intended to facilitate the review and deployment of carbon capture, sequestration, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies. For those hoping for specific guidance that would accelerate the deployment of CCUS, the interim guidance is likely to disappoint. Congress recently signaled strong interest in accelerating CCUS as a national decarbonization strategy by providing billions of dollars of new investment to support the industry, but the guidance is largely silent on how the executive branch will match the urgency in ensuring on-the-ground deployment in the foreseeable future. Comments on CEQ’s guidance are due to CEQ by March 18.
Continue Reading Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage: Administration Action (and Inaction)

Anna Wildeman welcomes Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Ken Wagner to the podcast. In this episode Ken, Dave Ross, and Anna touch on the diversification of Oklahoma’s energy portfolio, including its pursuit of renewable energy sources, such as hydrogen, and its confluence with the water sector.
Continue Reading H2Oklahoma: Interview with Secretary Ken Wagner

Dave Ross talks with Radhika Fox as she marks her one year anniversary as EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water. They discuss how her prior experiences prepared her for the role at EPA and her desire to change the narrative around water by connecting it back to the community. They also look at her first year accomplishments, the recently passed infrastructure bill, the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and more.
Continue Reading Diving In: An Interview With Radhika Fox, Assistant Administrator, Office of Water

On October 21, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California vacated and remanded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2020 Clean Water Act Section 401 final rule (Certification Rule).

In response to the court’s ruling, EPA is implementing the previous water quality certification rule nationwide, which had been in effect since 1971, while it develops a new rule.

Pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), no federal license or permit that may result in a discharge to U.S. waters may be issued unless the state or authorized Tribe, where the discharge will originate, issues a water quality certification or waives the certification requirement.
Continue Reading Court Decision to Vacate, Remand State Water Quality 401 Certification Rule

On Friday, December 17, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quietly issued a Q&A document concerning the vacatur of the 2020 Section 401 Certification Rule (2020 Rule). The Q&A confirms EPA’s view that the 1971 certification regulation is now in effect nationwide, but does not present a policy or legal rationale for this decision. Although much of the Q&A refers the reader to the 1971 certification regulation, it also provides some pretty important information.
Continue Reading EPA Issues 401 Q&A

Landowners and permit applicants received an email notification this week that the Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) would not be processing their requests for coverage under a variety of Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 Nationwide Permits (NWPs). NWPs are general permits that authorize activities under Clean Water Act Section 404 that “will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects when performed separately, and will have only minimal cumulative adverse effects on the environment.” CWA Section 404 (e)(1).
Continue Reading Army Corps Halts Coverage Under Nationwide Permits