Water

Stateline Midwest ~ March 2013

Since 2009, an unprecedented amount of federal money has been flowing into this region to protect and restore the Great Lakes.

On top of other existing programs in place, more than $1 billion has been allocated through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative — viewed at the time and now as a historic commitment by the federal government to clean up the lakes and protect them from ongoing threats such as invasive species.
But it is unclear whether similar levels of help can be expected on Great Lakes projects in the future, due to budget concerns and policy gridlock in the nation’s capital.

When Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, it was fairly vague about which bodies of water would be protected by the new legislation. Supreme Court rulings over the past 12 years have done little to add much clarity to the issue.  “In 1972, Congress enacted the Clean Water Act and indicated that all its programs were designed to protect the navigable waters,” said Donna Downing, an attorney in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water. “Then in the act they defined navigable waters as meaning waters of the United States, including the territorial seas. That’s all the statute says about what waters are protected and subject to all those different Clean Water Act programs.”

CSG’s webinar, “The Clean Water Act and Waters of the U.S.,” helped state policymakers unravel the complex legal issues involving the limits and scope of federal regulatory jurisdiction over “navigable waters of the U.S.” in the Clean Water Act. The timing of the webinar is important as the Obama administration announced its intention December 2012 to pursue a federal rulemaking that may ultimately chart a path forward for states and other stakeholders after two ambiguous decisions made by the Supreme Court and more than four years of agency guidance.

CSG’s webinar, “The Clean Water Act and Waters of the U.S.,” helped state policymakers unravel the complex legal issues involving the limits and scope of federal regulatory jurisdiction over “navigable waters of the U.S.” in the Clean Water Act. The timing of the webinar is important as the Obama administration announced its intention December 2012 to pursue a federal rulemaking that may ultimately chart a path forward for states and other stakeholders after two ambiguous decisions made by the Supreme Court and more than four years of agency guidance.

Be sure to register for tomorrow's webinar entitled: "The Clean Water Act and Waters of the U.S." In light of the Obama Administration's recent announcement that a rule may be forthcoming in 2013 which may settle the high-profile dispute with the limits of federal jurisdictional authority over "waters of the U.S.", you will want to participate in this informative event. The webinar will be tomorrow, February 21 at 2PM/Eastern and registration information can be found here.

Be sure to mark your calendar on February 21 at 2 PM/Eastern for the latest event in CSG's webinar series entitled: "The Clean Water Act and Waters of the U.S." In light of the Obama Administration's recent announcement that a rule may be forthcoming in 2013 which may settle the high-profile dispute with the limits of federal jurisdictional authority over "waters of the U.S.", you will want to participate in this informative event.

Backers of legislation (SB 1353) to overturn Virginia's ban on uranium mining announced yesterday their intent to postpone an effort requiring the state's Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to create a permitting structure for extracting the ore. The bill's chief sponsor, Senator John Watkins, expressed frustration and disappointment during a committee hearing where it appeared the legislation did not have enough votes to pass. 

The New York Times recently featured a story covering the opening of the Texas legislative session and its marquee issue - the state's historic drought and potential policy solutions to mitigate its long-lasting impacts.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and overturned a decision made by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which found there could be a "discharge" under the Clean Water Act when water is moved from one part of a river to another. The Circuit Court originally agreed with environmental groups that concrete, channeled portions of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers, which carry storm water from numerous other upstream municipalities, constituted a point source for a discharge of pollutants.

CSG Director of Energy and Environmental Policy Brydon Ross outlines the top five issues for 2013, including the future of coal, Clean Water Act legal actions, energy infrastructure hardening, managing the energy wave, and EPA air regulations. 

 

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