On March 13, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the long-anticipated step of proposing maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs), as well as individual maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), for six PFAS compounds under the Safe Drinking Water Act. PFAS are a large family of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. Many PFAS have unique physical and chemical properties that make them highly stable and resistant to degradation in the environment, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals.”Continue Reading EPA Advances PFAS Strategic Roadmap With Proposed Drinking Water Standards
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”) (together the “Agencies”) have continued working on a proposed rule to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA or Act), which will soon move to the next stage of agency consideration.…
John Goodin takes a break from his recent retirement to share invaluable insights with Dave and Anna from his 32-year career in EPA’s Office of Water. John talks about the long-running “waters of the United States” rulemaking, provides an insider’s perspective on federal decision-making, and connects his passion for travel with EPA’s mission to restore and protect our nation’s waters.Continue Reading H2-OWOW! – A Reflective Conversation with John Goodin, Former Director of EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
Yesterday, EPA announced a proposed rule that would revise the agency’s regulations to include a requirement that water quality standards protect reserved tribal treaty rights. This proposal is a major milestone for the agency that has tried to incorporate reserved tribal treaty rights into its water quality standards program since at least 2015.
Continue Reading EPA Proposes Water Quality Standards Revisions Requiring Consideration of Tribal Treaty Rights
HDR Utility Services Director Trent Stober joins Dave and Anna to close out their PFAS miniseries, focusing on the real-world application of regulatory developments in the water sector. Trent provides perspective on how engineering consultants advise their water and wastewater utility customers on risk management, integrated planning, and other response strategies to the developing PFAS regulatory framework.Continue Reading PFAS in Focus: Forever-Engineering With Trent Stober, HDR
Dave Ross and Anna Wildeman provide high-level reactions to the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the Sackett v. EPA case, the latest legal battle in a long-running dispute over the meaning of the phrase “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. They discuss the Court’s surprising focus on a little-known parenthetical in the section 404 program, EPA’s potential reactions to the arguments, and whether anyone can reasonably predict the outcome of the case in what may be the most closely watched environmental decision of the current term.Continue Reading Reflections on Sackett
This article was republished in Pratt’s Energy Law Report (Vol. 22-10, November-December 2022).
On June 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a pre-publication version of its proposal to re-write the Clean Water Act Section 401 rule (Certification Proposal), which, if finalized, is expected to have far-reaching impacts on hydroelectric licensing and relicensing. The Certification Proposal is intended by EPA to replace the version of the rule finalized under the Trump administration in 2020 (2020 Rule). While the Certification Proposal maintains some aspects of the 2020 Rule, it differs in some significant areas and in many ways reverts back to the 1971 regulations.Continue Reading EPA’s Clean Water Act Certification Proposal to Significantly Impact Hydropower Licensing
On December 27, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued a final rule reissuing 40 existing Nationwide Permits (NWPs) with modifications and issuing a new NWP for water reclamation and reuse facilities. The 40 existing NWPs that the Corps reissued includes NWP 17, which authorizes the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with certain small hydroelectric projects.
Continue Reading Army Corps Finalizes Modified and New Nationwide Permits, Including for Certain Hydropower Projects
As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares its Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 rule proposal, litigation regarding the 2020 Trump-era rule (Certification Rule) continues. Currently, the issue of whether to re-instate the Certification Rule is proceeding before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Ninth Circuit). The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California had vacated and remanded the Certification Rule, and intervenors and several states appealed the vacatur. Appellants, including several industry groups, have filed motions to stay the District Court’s vacatur pending the outcome of the appeal and are now awaiting the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that could, at least temporarily, re-instate the Certification Rule.
Continue Reading Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule Litigation Continues
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