#Clean Water Act
Earth Week Interviews with EPA Administrators Gina McCarthy and William Reilly

Earth Week Interviews with EPA Administrators Gina McCarthy and William Reilly

This week, The Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy produced a special double episode of its excellent Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, in which their Founding Director, Jason Bordoff, interviewed two champions of the environmental movement — one Republican, one Democrat. With the Center’s permission, we have excerpted each of them below. Earth Day At 50: […]

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Supreme Court Closes Loophole, Ensures the Integrity of the Clean Water Act

Supreme Court Closes Loophole, Ensures the Integrity of the Clean Water Act

In a huge win for the Clean Water Act, by a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court held that municipalities and others that discharge pollution are subject to the Act’s restrictions when they discharge the water into groundwater or ditches and it ends up in a water body covered by the law, such as a lake or the ocean.

Why This Matters: Six votes for a pro-conservation interpretation of the Act, including the Chief Justice and Trump-appointee Kavanaugh, has significance beyond this case.

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Interview of the Week: Richard Lazarus on Earth Day and Environmental Law and the Courts

Interview of the Week: Richard Lazarus on Earth Day and Environmental Law and the Courts

Richard is the Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and a leading expert on U.S. environmental laws. ODP:  In less than a week, it will be the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, which led to landmark laws like the Endangered Species Act, NEPA, and the Clean Water Act.  Leaving aside […]

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EPA’s Regulatory Leniency Allows Cities to Continue Raw Sewage Overflows

EPA’s Regulatory Leniency Allows Cities to Continue Raw Sewage Overflows

The New York Times reported over the weekend that the “Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems.”  

Why This Matters:  The Obama Administration started the practice of giving cities a break on sewage overflows but according to officials from the prior administration, the bar was higher — a city had to demonstrate a hardship event like a natural disaster in order to get leniency.

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Trump Administration Finalizes Rule Severely Limiting Clean Water Act

Trump Administration Finalizes Rule Severely Limiting Clean Water Act

The Trump Administration on Thursday made official a controversial rule to drastically limit the application of the Clean Water Act, finalizing its proposal that has been uniformly criticized by environmental groups and the agency’s own science advisors because it will lead to the contamination of groundwater, many intermittent water bodies, and drinking water supplies and the elimination of many wetlands. 

Why This Matters: They call it the “The Navigable Waters Protection Rule” but nothing could be further from the truth because now pollution can enter big waterways and the ocean from smaller ones and from wetlands that are no longer protected.  More pesticides, more PFAS, more chemicals, more waste — and we won’t know it because these discharges and wetlands destruction will all be “perfectly” legal.

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The Clean Water Act Has Been Drained

The Clean Water Act Has Been Drained

By Monica Medina, Founder and Publisher, Our Daily Planet The fall of 2019 will be remembered for the Ukrainian scandal and the impeachment investigation.  But for many Americans, this should be remembered as the time when our nation’s clean water crisis became crystal clear.  This is not just a Flint problem.  It is a national […]

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Supreme Court Hears Clean Water Act Loophole Case

Supreme Court Hears Clean Water Act Loophole Case

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about whether the Clean Water Act requires a permit for pollution from “point sources” — pipes and drainage ditches — that flows into a river or the ocean via another medium like groundwater or a wetland that is not covered by the statute. 

Why This Matters:  The stakes are high for both sides. The water treatment plant argues that it did not discharge directly into a navigable water — the ocean or a river — so it can’t be held responsible under the Act — a technicality, but one that they say protects many facilities like theirs from the high cost of treating discharges like these, as well as excusing homeowners whose septic tanks might leak.  Environmental groups on the other side say that if a polluter is allowed to discharge into another medium like groundwater and the pollution then ends up in a navigable water, it will create a huge loophole in the Act.

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Trump Administration’s “Out of Control” War Against EPA

Trump Administration’s “Out of Control” War Against EPA

The Washington Post editorialized yesterday that EPA is “out of control” and abusing its power brazenly to wage a regulatory war against the state of California, and experts argued that EPA had little to back up its accusation. “No self respecting EPA scientist or regulatory staffer is going to claim there’s a direct connection between […]

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Trump Administration Rolls Back WOTUS Rule, Undermines the Clean Water Act

Yesterday the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency rolled back one of the most important environmental rules put in place by the Obama Administration – the Waters of the U.S. Rule (“WOTUS”) – which protects wetlands that are the best natural barriers to storm surge and flooding and also keeps agricultural pollution out of our waterways.  […]

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