Last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual enforcement results for the 2018 fiscal year (ranging from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018). The report, prepared by EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), highlights the results of the agency’s civil and criminal enforcement of the nation’s federal environmental laws over the past year. The 2018 results mark the first full fiscal year of enforcement results, including inspections and compliance evaluations, under the Trump administration. A statement in the report from Susan Bodine, the Assistant Administrator for OECA, summarizes EPA’s enforcement priorities, explaining, “[i]n fiscal year 2018, we continued our focus on expediting site cleanup, deterring noncompliance, and returning facilities to compliance with the law, while respecting the cooperative federalism structure of our nation’s environmental laws.” Continue Reading EPA’s 2018 Environmental Enforcement Results Released

Judicial review of state agency regulatory orders in California has long been seen as an exercise in futility as state courts typically give significant deference to agency determinations. However, two recent decisions by California Superior Courts have bucked that trend and may provide renewed hope that success at the trial court level is not out of reach. Continue Reading Scoring Gold at the Superior Court: California Water Boards’ Regulatory Authority Successfully Challenged

Since President Trump’s election, his Administration has emphasized cooperative federalism and has opened the door for more state responsibility.  California is walking through that door, and has positioned itself, according to its elected officials, at the vanguard of the so-called “resistance” to the Administration and its policies, real and perceived.  This is particularly clear on environmental, energy, and natural resource matters.  Last week illustrates the growing divide between California and the federal government in these areas.

Continue Reading California Turns Up The Heat

On October 21 and November 3, EPA Regions 3 and 9 denied petitions from eNGOs for the agency to use its “residual designation authority” (RDA) to expand the universe of stormwater discharges that are regulated by the Clean Water Act (CWA) in specific watersheds in Maryland and California. See 33 U.S.C. § 1342(p)(2)(E); 40 C.F.R. §§ 122.26(a)(1)(v), (a)(9)(i)(D). This was an important decision by EPA, and any resulting litigation could have significant implications for businesses or activities with significant swaths of impervious surfaces, from which stormwater discharges may occur.

Continue Reading EPA Denies Bid to Expand Regulation of Stormwater