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Quote of the Day - We don't have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand. - James Watt
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USEPA Just Can't Get It Right - 17 Years Later

Last week, while it wasn't fielding California recall briefs, the 9th Circuit decided a little-known case with very little fanfare. It will, however, have lasting effects. In three consolidated cases, the Environmental Defense Center, Natural Resourses Defense counsel and the American Forest & Paper Association sued the USEPA. These actions were first filed in the Fifth, Ninth and D.C. Circuits, and then consolidated in the Ninth.

The import of the case boils down to two changes in the USEPA Phase II rule for storm water discharges. Previously, when a construction site between one and five acres or a MS4 (essentially a small municipality) applied for a NPDES stormwater permit, the USEPA did not require review of the notice of intent to comply. In a word, the USEPA rule allowed self-regulation.

Now, however, with this Ninth Circuit ruling, the Court required USEPA to go back to the drawing board and add in provisions for public notice and public hearings. As a consequence of this ruling, the USEPA will eventually require review and comment before approving the permits, which will make the permits harder to obtain and subject to challenge by environmental groups like the Plaintiffs in these cases, the EDC and the NRCD.

It only took the USEPA 13 years to promulgate this rule, and four years to wind its way through the court system. We'll see how long it takes this time.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, September 22, 2003 at 09:59 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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