“Next Generation Compliance” is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) signature initiative intended to increase compliance with environmental regulations by using advances in pollution monitoring and information technology and by more effectively using and designing regulations and permits to reduce pollution and enhance compliance. This column describes EPA’s initiative, discusses several examples of its applications in rulemakings and civil enforcement settlements, discusses another new compliance-related tool, eDisclosure, and outlines the implications for industry of these novel approaches to incentivizing compliance.
"On September 16, 2014, EPA released its Final 2012 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan (Final 2012 Plan) and the Preliminary 2014 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan (Preliminary 2014 Plan) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). These are important plans as they telegraph EPA’s plans for developing effluent guidelines for targeted industries. This article discusses EPA’s current plans."
In late March, EPA and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposed a rule that would dramatically revise and expand the reach of the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) jurisdiction. Unquestionably, determining the scope of the CWA’s jurisdiction, particularly over streams and tributaries, has become confusing and complex following several Supreme Court decisions and various EPA interpretations issued in response to these decisions over the years. For nearly a decade, Congress, state and local officials, industry, agriculture, environmental groups and the public have asked for a rulemaking to provide clarity. The proposal is already generating much controversy and should invite significant comments.
The tragic spill of a chemical into the Elk River in West Virginia that occurred on Jan. 9, 2014, has spurred the development of new legislation. On Jan. 27, 2014, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) introduced the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act of 2014. The regrettable spill and the mismanagement of the spill’s consequences by federal and state regulators reads like a case summary of mistakes to avoid when managing a crisis of epic proportions. The legislation that may emerge from this tragedy could prevent similar events in the future.
Despite 40 years of policy tinkering and lawsuits, there is still major disagreement over the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction today. A series of conflicting lower court decisions led the Supreme Court to twice address the definition of “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) with respect to wetlands policy. In 2011 the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to incorporate all of the Justices’ opinions in sweeping, new draft guidance that would greatly increase the number and type of waters regulated by the CWA. This “Washington Report” article examines the current policy status, and its impact on the aerial application business.
President Obama won a decisive victory on November 6, 2012, and the forecast for the next four years is clearer now than it was pre-election. This Washington Watch column offers some preliminary observations on what lies ahead for domestic environmental management issues at the legislative and regulatory levels.
Recent advances in contaminant identification methodologies, sampling instrumentation, and analytical chemistry have caused an explosion of knowledge about the presence of previously undetected organic micropollutants. While it doesn't follow that the mere presence of chemical contaminants results in harm, public health experts, regulators, and others aren't sitting idly by.