EPA Seeks Overhaul of Ozone NAAQS

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a memorandum on May 9th that directs the agency’s staff to begin a five-year review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone. The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires EPA to periodically review the NAAQS, including both primary and secondary standards, for criteria air pollutants such as ozone …

Changes Proposed to Research and Data Used by EPA

As recently reported in a number of news outlets, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has proposed a rule within the EPA that would require the Agency to use research that is publicly available in promulgating new rules alleged to be “scientifically-based.”  This could be an important change to every company over which EPA …

EPA Centralizes Responsibility for Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations

On March 30, 2018, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a memorandum and delegation of authority that move responsibility for the EPA’s role in Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations to EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water. Responsibility for this role previously resided with regional EPA administrators. Jurisdictional Determinations are a critical aspect of the “dredge-and-fill” permitting requirements under section 404 …

EPA Seeks Comment on Possible Regulation of Groundwater Discharges

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently requested public comments on whether pollutant discharges that reach “waters of the United States” are subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and require National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. This announcement comes on the heels of a recent Ninth Circuit decision finding that certain …

EPA Declines to Impose CERCLA Financial Assurance Regulations on Hardrock Mining

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a final action declining to impose financial assurance regulations on the hardrock mining industry under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This proposal was directed at managing the financial cost of hardrock mining, particularly the cost of cleanup in situations where the …

EPA Directive Provides Additional Opportunities for Stakeholder Participation in Consent Decree Negotiations

On October 16, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt released a directive that instructs the agency to follow new procedures related to the settlement of lawsuits against the agency. Specifically, the directive requires EPA to: Publish online any notices of intent to sue that it receives from potential litigants. Publish complaints and petitions in which it …

DAPL Developer Sues Environmental Groups

In a remarkable development around the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the developer of the project, Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners, sued the environmental groups that opposed DAPL. Energy Transfer sued  Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., BankTrack, and Earth First! alleging that the: group of co-conspirators (the “Enterprise”) manufactured and disseminated …

Trump Administration Working to Repeal and Replace the Clean Water Rule

Wetlands in front of the Lincoln Memorial, 1917, before construction of the reflecting pool On February 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order directing EPA to review the “Waters of the United States Rule” (the “WOTUS” Rule). Exec. Order No. 13778, 82 Fed. Reg. 12497 (Feb. 28, 2017). The order directed EPA and the …