BB&K In the News May 26, 2016

EPA Staff Divided on Allowing CWA Permits for Groundwater Discharges

BB&K Partner Shawn Hagerty Discusses Clean Water Act Issues

Best Best & Krieger LLP Partner Shawn Hagerty participated in a discussion titled, “The NPDES Permit Program: 40+ Years Newon” at the American Law Institute’s Clean Water Act 2016 seminar on May 20 in Washington, D.C. In InsideEPA’s “EPA Staff Divided on Allowing CWA Permits for Groundwater Discharges,” Shawn’s comments on the expansion of groundwater release permits were included:

“Best Best & Krieger's Shawn Hagerty, who has worked on groundwater litigation, said during the seminar that expanding permits to groundwater releases risks ‘overburdening the program, and trying to jam a solution to all our problems into a single program.’

“Hagerty drew a connection between the groundwater litigation and EPA's contentious rule defining which waters are ‘waters of the United States’ subject to the CWA, which critics have attacked as vague and expansive. The agency's broad definition of what is a ‘tributary’ to a navigable water covered by CWA protections encourages third parties to try expanding other regulations of water that flows into jurisdictional waterbodies, he said.

"’While that tributary thinking has an important place in the 'Waters of the United States' context, when applied in this point source context it really has the threat of eliminating the distinction between point and non-point sources,’ he said.”

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