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.
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."
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.
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).
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.
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."
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?
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).
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).