A sandy beach on one of the many Pamlico Sound islands of the North Carolina Outer Banks

In a long-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against the EPA in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency. This ruling narrows the interpretation of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act to “wetlands with a continuous surface connection to bodies of water that are ‘waters of the United States’ in their own right.”

The opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, stated that the EPA’s interpretation of wetlands covered by the CWA was “inconsistent” with the law’s text and structure. It may also have repercussions for wetlands no longer considered WOTUS or covered by the CWA, thus unprotected by EPA authority and subject to pollution without penalty.

In other environmental updates, we highlight the following in our Compliance News:

Permitting reforms aim to boost energy infrastructure

On May 10, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a set of bipartisan permitting reform priorities to help drive the building of energy infrastructure “faster, safer, and cleaner.” These recommendations are aimed at reforming and streamlining permitting processes. Recommendations include:

  • Permitting reforms as part of the Building American Energy Security Act of 2023
    • Acceleration of energy project permitting on federal lands
    • Modernization of mining laws and responsible development of domestic critical minerals
  • Improvement of permitting efficiency and predictability
  • Enhancement of data collection needed for effective permitting
  • Removal of duplicative and burdensome analysis and reviews
  • Addressing gaps in the permitting workforce
  • Establishment of clearer requirements for mitigating environmental harms
  • Incentivization of state and local permitting reform and standardization

Maine joins list of PFAS litigants

Maine’s two lawsuits against manufacturers of PFAS and PFAS-containing products adds to the growing number of lawsuits causing the current administration to make PFAS regulation a priority.

Proposed ban on methylene chloride

EPA’s proposed methylene chloride risk management rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) would rapidly phase down manufacturing, processing, and distribution for all consumer uses and most industrial and commercial uses.

Subscribe to BC Water News to receive more articles like this GET STARTED