Environmental groups sue EPA over storm drain pollution

Environmental groups sue EPA over storm drain pollution

[JURIST] Two environmental groups filed a lawsuit [brief, PDF] on Thursday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] accusing the group of failing to comply with a court order to strengthen storm drain pollution regulation. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) [advocacy websites] claim that the EPA has failed to obey a court order from a 2003 case EDC v. EPA, which required the agency to redo its 1999 urban storm runoff regulations. The order, which also suggested that the agency consider creating regulations for unpaved forest road runoffs, stemmed from the court’s finding that the regulations did not comply with the Clean Water Act (CWA) [text]. The EPA has responded to the lawsuit by stating that it is attempting to strengthen its current stormwater pollution program. The agency stated [Reuters report] that it intends to educate and empower local communities to address the issue before creating additional federal regulations.

The EPA has been involved in many high profile cases and issues over the past year. In June the US Supreme Court limited the power [JURIST report] of the agency to regulate greenhouse gases while still leaving the agency free to do so in most cases. In Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, which was consolidated with six other cases, the court was considering whether the EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases. Also in June the EPA released [JURIST report] the Clean Power Plan proposal at the direction of President Barack Obama. In May the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that the EPA was justified in its decision to defer adopting new air quality standards for pollutants that contribute to acid rain. In April Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] 6-2 in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation that the EPA did not overstep its authority when it issued a regulation limiting power plants’ emissions that cross state lines.