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Showing 192 results

Katlyn Schmitt | June 2, 2020

Clean Water Webinar Spotlight: Lessons Learned from the Supreme Court’s Maui Decision

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court finally weighed in with an answer to a longstanding question about what kinds of pollution discharges rise to the level of a "point source" and require a permit under the Clean Water Act. The Court dipped its toes into some muddied waters, as this question has been the subject of a range of decisions in the lower courts for decades, with little consensus. Panelists on the Center for Progressive Reform's May 28 clean water webinar examined the Supreme Court's opinion and its possible implications for water quality protections.

Dave Owen, Katlyn Schmitt | May 28, 2020

The Whittling Away of State Clean Water Act Authority

Sometime soon, EPA is expected to release its final rule limiting state and tribal authority to conduct water quality certifications under section 401 of the Clean Water Act. A water quality certification is the most important tool states have to ensure that any federally permitted project complies with state water quality protections.

Samuel Boden | May 27, 2020

Will Tittabawassee Floodwaters Go Toxic?

On May 19, the National Weather Service advised people living near the Tittabawassee River in Michigan to seek higher ground immediately. The region was in the midst of what meteorologists were calling a “500-year-flood,” resulting in a catastrophic failure of the Edenville Dam. Despite years of warnings from regulators that the dam could rupture, its owners failed to make changes to reinforce the structure and increase spillway capacity. By the next day, the river had risen to a record-high 34.4 feet in the city of Midland.

Darya Minovi, James Goodwin | May 20, 2020

CPR Urges EPA to Abandon Unjustified and Harmful Censored Science Rulemaking

Earlier this week, we submitted a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), criticizing the agency's March 2020 supplemental proposal for its “censored science" rulemaking. This rule, among other things, would require the public release of underlying data for studies considered in regulatory decision-making, and thus might prevent the agency from relying on such seminal public health research as Harvard’s Six Cities study, which have formed the backbone of many of the EPA’s regulations, simply because they rely on confidential data.

Darya Minovi | May 18, 2020

Virtual Town Hall Meeting to Focus on Delmarva Agricultural Pollution’s Impact on Public Health

On May 26, CPR and our advocacy partners are hosting a virtual town hall event to discuss the latest research and insights on air and water pollution from industrial livestock operations and their impact on public health and the environment in the Delmarva region.

Matt Shudtz, Rachel Micah-Jones | May 4, 2020

Baltimore Sun Op-ed: More Needs to Be Done to Protect Our Meat and Poultry Workers

President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to order meat and poultry plants to continue operating despite COVID-19 outbreaks, exposing Maryland's poultry workers to enormous risks. Poultry processors haven't demonstrated they're able to keep workers safe and healthy, but they know that many of these low-wage workers will be forced to return. To top it all off, one of the president's goals with this order was to provide legal immunity to companies, so that they can't be sued by employees who are infected as a result of unsafe working conditions.

Karrigan Bork, Steph Tai, Thomas Harter | May 1, 2020

Supreme Court Ruling Finds Old, New Middle Ground on Clean Water Act’s Application to Groundwater

Last week, the Supreme Court decided a case involving discharge from a wastewater reclamation facility owned and operated by the County of Maui, which discharged 3 to 5 million gallons of treated wastewater per day into four injection wells about half a mile from the ocean. Recent research showed that much of the injected waste eventually discharges to the ocean. Environmental groups sued the county for not obtaining a Clean Water Act permit, arguing that point source discharge of pollutants that eventually reach surface water is governed under the Act. Justice Breyer, writing for the Court majority, wrote "we do not see how Congress could have intended to create such a large and obvious loop hole in one of the key regulatory innovations of the Clean Water Act." On the "fairly traceable" approach, the opinion stated that such interpretation "would require a permit in surprising, even bizarre circumstances".

Lisa Heinzerling | April 24, 2020

Opinion analysis: The justices’ purpose-full reading of the Clean Water Act

On April 23, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that the Clean Water Act requires a permit when a point source of pollution adds pollutants to navigable waters through groundwater, if this addition of pollutants is "the functional equivalent of a direct discharge" from the source into navigable waters. Perhaps the most striking feature of Justice Stephen Breyer's opinion for the majority is its interpretive method. The opinion reads like something from a long-ago period of statutory interpretation, before statutory decisions regularly made the central meaning of complex laws turn on a single word or two and banished legislative purpose to the interpretive fringes.

Darya Minovi | April 23, 2020

New Report Finds Poultry Industry Contributes 24 Million Pounds of Nitrogen to Chesapeake Bay

On Earth Day, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), a CPR ally, released a new report on nitrogen pollution from poultry operations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Using data from the Chesapeake Bay Program’s pollution modeling program, EIP found that approximately 24 million pounds of nitrogen pollution from the poultry industry entered the Chesapeake Bay’s tidal waters in 2018. That's more than from urban and suburban stormwater runoff in Maryland and Virginia combined, and it can contaminate drinking water sources of nearby communities and feed huge algal blooms in the Bay that block sunlight, choking off fish and plant life.