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In a case involving management of a watershed hundreds of miles east of his state’s border, and that will be decided by a U.S. appeals court in Philadelphia, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has taken much more than a passing interest.
He is leading a coalition of states that have filed an amicus brief asking the federal court to reject the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to require states in the Chesapeake Bay region to develop processes to reduce nutrient runoff (nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment).

Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced a new rule from the Department of Interior to regulate the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal lands. The relaunch of the rule was made after Interior pulled back its original proposal in 2012 after receiving 177,000 public comments. According to an Interior press release, the updated draft proposal will be subject to a new 30-day public comment period on the notice of proposed rulemaking. 

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 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. 

On November 19, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad released a nearly 200 page report calling for reductions in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus found in fertilizer run-off from agriculture operations and wastewater treatment plants. The report, nearly two years in the making, came as a result of a 2008 EPA directive called the Hypoxia Action Plan which outlined a strategy for 12 states in the Mississippi River watershed to reduce discharges of nutrients that contributed to the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico - an oxygen deprived area that causes algae blooms and fish kills.

The Utah Division of Water Quality voted 9-2 to allow the U.S. Oil Sands company to begin commercial mining for oil shale bitumen, a thick clay-like substance, which will be the first of its kind in the U.S. The agency review was requested by two opposing environmental groups  after a previous ruling was made by the agency to allow the 213 acre project to move forward in eastern Utah without a water pollution or groundwater monitoring permit. Observers now expect the decision to be taken on in the courts by the project opponents.

The Ninth Circuit (AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA) has a reputation for listening to the beat of its own drummer.  And the Supreme Court has a reputation of taking the drum back and correcting the beat.  Will this happen in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council?  The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) has filed an amicus brief in this case, which CSG has signed onto, and thinks (and hopes!) so. 

The controversy in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council is over whether the Los Angeles County Flood Control District has violated a federal permit because of the level of pollutants from stormwater that it gathers in municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) located in two California Rivers.        

Great Lakes Legislative Caucus

The Great Lakes Legislative Caucus continues to track state and federal legislation of interest to Great Lakes lawmakers.

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