EPA Priorities in the Waning Hours of the Obama Administration

Toward the end of any administration, there’s always a mad dash by EPA to push through as much of its regulatory agenda as it can.  This past Friday, I was asked to pinch hit for Nancy Stoner, head of EPA’s Water Office, at the ABA’s annual environmental law conference in Baltimore.  Due to the partial government shutdown all EPA officials were threatened prohibited from making any public appearance to prognosticate on the agency’s priorities over the last three years of the Obama Administration.  Sorry, Nancy – we missed you.  But not to be overshadowed by the Air Office and the looming showdown on climate change regulations, I promised big things from you and your office (you’re welcome!), namely the “Big Three” rules, stormwater, waters of the U.S., and nutrients.  Oh yes, I bullishly speculated that you would take full advantage of Judge Zainey’s recent gift, the “necessity determination” on numeric nutrient criteria.  Although you and the agency’s lawyers will be tied up in endless litigation for years to come, the “Big Three” could be your mark on history – and what a legacy that would leave.  Thanks to my good friend and former EPA colleague, Roger Martella, who moderated, along with the other panelists, Lynn Bergeson and Gale Lea Rubrecht, for a good time.  On my way out, bumped into my good friend and former EPA colleague, Adam Kushner, who was pinch hitting for EPA’s Enforcement Office – great environmental lawyer if you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the government or desiring to stay on the right side of the law.

EPW OW priorities

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