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Clean Water Act (CWA)

Hawkes v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Is a Wetlands Jurisdictional Determination Reviewable Under the Administrative Procedure Act?

On March 30, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Hawkes Co. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit asks whether a wetlands jurisdictional determination (...

Plain Meaning, Precedent, and Metaphysics: Lessons in Statutory Interpretation From Analyzing the Elements of the Clean Water Act Offense

This Article, the fifth in a series of five, completes the author’s detailed analysis of how federal courts have interpreted each element of the Clean Water Act (CWA) offense. Compiling statistics across the four prior articles, it...

Plain Meaning, Precedent, and Metaphysics: Interpreting the “Point Source” Element of the Clean Water Act Offense

This Article, the fourth in a series of five, examines the continuing struggles to define “point source” and “nonpoint source” under the Clean Water Act. State regulation of nonpoint sources is neither pervasive nor robust, and most...

EPA’s “Waters of the United States” Rule: Substance and Significance

Four hundred stakeholder meetings and one million comments later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule on May 27, 2015. Response to the rule has been immediate, vocal, and...

Plain Meaning, Precedent, and Metaphysics: Interpreting the “Navigable Waters” Element of the Clean Water Act Offense

This Article, the third in a series of five, examines the meaning of “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. It traces the traditional judicial interpretation of navigable waters and how Congress and EPA attempted to extend its...

Key Issues in Setting Water Quality Standards

When setting water quality standards (WQS) for surface water, every state in the nation is faced with the question of “how clean is clean enough?” The standard set by the state is important to citizens, who rely upon a high level of...

Plain Meaning, Precedent, and Metaphysics: Interpreting the “Pollutant” Element of the Federal Water Pollution Offense

This Article, the second in a series of five, examines the meaning of “pollutant” under the Clean Water Act. Congress and EPA have defined “pollutant” to mean a list of specific substances and broad categories of materials and wastes...

Will the New Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule Float?

On April 21, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection for streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Determining Clean Water Act...

Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District: Will It Impact Mitigation Conditions in §404 Permits?

Required mitigation of wetlands impacts is a mandatory feature of many Clean Water Act §404 permits. In Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, the U.S. Supreme Court held that government agencies must show a...

Plain Meaning, Precedent, and Metaphysics: Interpreting the “Addition” Element of the Clean Water Act Offense

The Clean Water Act (CWA) prohibits addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source by any person without a permit. Surprisingly, the first element of this prohibition, “addition,” remains undefined. It has been...