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Clean Water Act - CWA Archives

Publicly Owned Sewer Systems Now Required To Report and Notify Of Combined Sewer Overflows

In 2012, the Sewer Pollution Right to Know Act (SPRTKA) was signed into law in New York State. This law requires that owners of publicly owned sewer systems (POSSs) advise the public when raw or partially treated sewage, including combined sewer overflows (CSOs), is discharged into New York's waterways. On November 9 2016, the Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) regulations implementing the SPRTKA took effect.

Split Second Circuit Panel Invokes Chevron Doctrine, Reverses Southern District and Reinstates EPA's Water Transfers Rule

In a 2-1 ruling, the Second Circuit reversed Southern District Judge Kenneth Karas, who had found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "Water Transfers Rule" was an unreasonable interpretation of the Clean Water Act. Writing for the majority and leaning on the EPA's reasoning, Circuit Judge Robert Sack wrote that the "Water Transfers Rule is based on a reasonable interpretation of the Clean Water Act and therefore entitled to Chevron deference."

Tonawanda Coke Corporation Enters into a $12 Million Settlement with DEC and EPA for Alleged Violations of State and Federal Environmental Law

The U.S. Federal Government and the State of New York jointly announced on May 11, 2015 a $12 million settlement with Tonawanda Coke Corporation for a litany of alleged environmental violations at TCC's western New York coke manufacturing facility.

EPA Blocks Clean Water Act Funding for Tappan Zee Bridge Reconstruction

The U.S. EPA easily rejected Governor Andrew Cuomo's loan request, refraining from calling it chutzpah of the highest order: the Governor tried to pass off bridge construction as an environmental project worthy of the federal Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). 

Yet Another Legal Challenge to the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station Fails

A marine transfer station operated on the East River at 91st Street for nearly six decades, temporarily storing municipal waste along the East River before loading it onto barges for disposal outside of Manhattan. But in 2004, the New York City announced plans to build a newer, larger MTS on the site as part of a new City-wide Solid Waste Management Plan. The City wanted to move even farther away from its reliance on expensive and environmentally unfriendly truck-based disposal methods, but the proposal for East 91st Street quickly became embroiled in years of litigation. 

Expanded Clean Water Act Jurisdiction could be Coming 'Round the River Bend

How easily can a significant expansion in jurisdiction be called just a "clarification" of existing jurisdiction? On April 21, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers published a proposed rule that promises to significantly change federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction. While EPA Administrator Gina McCarty has described the proposed rule as merely a clarification of existing EPA authority, if finalized, it will likely expand CWA permit requirements to include minor tributaries and even seasonal waters such as vernal pools as "waters of the United States." 

UPDATED: Federal Court Upholds $105 Million Judgment Against ExxonMobil in Bellwether Groundwater Contamination Litigation

Here's a pop quiz: after an eleven week trial in federal court, a jury hands down a verdict of nearly $105 million against ExxonMobil for contaminating New York City's drinking water. On appeal, the verdict is upheld. What environmental law enabled the jury to find, and the appellate court to affirm, such a large verdict? The Superfund Law? The Clean Water Act? The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act?

Court Holds Citizens Cannot Sue for Violations of Section 404 Permits under Clean Water Act

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Clean Water Act does not allow citizen suits to enforce the conditions of a § 404 Permit. See Atchafalaya Basinkeeper v. Chustz, No. 11-30471 (5th Cir. Apr. 25, 2012).

Supreme Court Holds That Pre-Enforcement Judicial Review of EPA Administrative Orders Is Allowed

The Supreme Court of the United States has just unanimously ruled that administrative orders issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") under section 319 of the Clean Water Act ("CWA") are "final agency actions" subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"). Sackett v. United States EPA, 566 U.S. ____ (2012). 

Court Must Hear Citizen Suit Case to Force River Clean Up under Administrative Consent Order

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey could not abstain from hearing a citizen suit case brought under both the federal Clean Water Act and the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and which sought an injunction requiring the defendant to clean up the Raritan River.

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