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

Anna and Dave continue their Missouri Water Seminar PFAS miniseries with Assistant Director of Engineering-Environmental Compliance Jay Hoskins of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. Jay, Anna, and Dave discuss integrated planning, source control, rate setting, and risk communication in a rapidly changing regulatory environment.Continue Reading PFAS in Focus: Wastewater Utility Perspectives From Jay Hoskins, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District

Dave and Anna kick off a PFAS podcast series taped on location at the Missouri Water Seminar to provide an on-the-ground perspective of how state and local governments are dealing with the emerging regulatory framework for PFAS. Our first guest — Water Program Director Chris Wieberg of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources — explains how the “Show-Me” state uses data collection, collaboration, and risk communication to advance PFAS regulatory and management efforts statewide.
Continue Reading PFAS in Focus: Show-Me Insights From Chris Wieberg, Missouri Department of Natural Resources

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

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week added five PFAS chemicals for a total of six PFAS chemicals to a list of risk-based values. EPA uses these values to determine if response or remediation activities are needed. The five PFAS additions include: hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt (HFPO-DA — sometimes referred to as GenX chemicals), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS). EPA added the first PFAS substance, perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), to the Regional Screening Level (RSL) and Regional Removal Management Level (RML) lists in 2014 and updated it in 2021 when EPA released its updated toxicity assessment for PFBS.
Continue Reading EPA Sets Screening Levels for Five PFAS Compounds

Tracy Mehan joins Dave Ross and Anna Wildeman to discuss his work as executive director of government affairs with the American Water Works Association and the flood of water topics inundating the drinking water sector, including new infrastructure funding, affordability as an environmental justice issue, AWWA’s perspective on PFAS and its associated superfund liability question, and updates to the lead and copper rule.
Continue Reading Drinking Water on Tap: Money, Morality, and More with Tracy Mehan from the American Water Works Association

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)