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.  Continue reading

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Happy, Healthy Bugs Means Healthy Waters: continued strides to restore America’s waters

The following may be a wee bit granular for some of my readers, but hear me out, because this is a big deal in the context of improving national water quality.  According to EPA, nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s water bodies, i.e., lakes, streams, rivers, still imagesCANFKOHWdo not meet water quality standards due to impairments from pollution.  One of the biggest offenders is excess nutrients as I’ve touched upon previously here (think harmful algal blooms).  Thus, EPA has been applying significant pressure on the States to adopt numeric nutrient criteria (as opposed to qualitative criteria), which in theory should make it easier and more effective to regulate nutrient pollution.  This has been a highly contentious issue, even going back to my time at EPA, as reflected in the recent Florida litigation. Continue reading