The environmental regulatory landscape continues to be active in refining the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and responses to the Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan.
As EPA balances how it focuses its resources, March brought about an elevated presence by both Congress, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, as noted in the articles we chose this month from BC’s BLR source:
PFAS inspires bipartisan bills to speed up CERCLA designation
The potential threat to human health that Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) poses is getting Congress to work together. In the EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, the agency already noted the most hazardous PFAS — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) — would fit under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). However, there are still no plans for finalizing this action.
Although the PFAS Action Plan was released only a month ago, multiple bipartisan bills have been introduced in Congress in hopes of advancing the CERCLA designation process.
Clean Water Act headed to the Supreme Court
After opposing opinions in three U.S. Appeal Courts, the Supreme Court will decide just how far the Clean Water Act (CWA) goes when it comes to pollution leaks.
Reviewed in the cases, County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP v. Upstate Forever, the Supreme Court will focus on the question: Is a point source discharging pollutants to navigable water via a groundwater pathway the functional equivalent of a direct discharge to navigable waters?
The decision will significantly impact the CWA’s regulation power.
NAS recommends sweeping update of Multi-Sector General Permit
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) has made recommendations for the agency’s Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) that could significantly change requirements for facilities subjected to the permit. The EPA has its hands tied by a 2016 settlement to listen to all recommendations included in the NAS report for the next MSGP, which is expected to be issued by the EPA in 2020.