Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pennsylvania Submits Final Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan


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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection provided the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) with its revised final Phase I WIP.  As required by the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Loads (“Bay TMDLs”), the seven jurisdictions must submit Watershed Implementation Plans (“WIPs”) for EPA’s approval and after January 11, 2011, all seven jurisdictions had submitted their final Phase I WIPs.  The WIPs detail how the jurisdictions plan to meet the Bay TMDLs pollution allocations.  In the Phase I WIPs, EPA expected the jurisdictions to “subdivide the Bay TMDL allocations among pollutant sources; evaluate their current legal, regulatory, programmatic and financial tools available to implement the allocations; identify and rectify potential shortfalls in attaining the allocations; describe mechanisms to track and report implementation activities; provide alternative approaches; and outline a schedule for implementation.”  EPA will monitor the jurisdictions’ WIP progress and may take appropriate action to ensure the jurisdictions will meet their milestones.  For more information on the Phase I WIPs, please visit EPA’s Watershed Implementation Plan Resource Area: How Does it Work? Ensuring Results (see “Final Phase 1 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs)”).

Written by Jay Angle, Research Assistant

Monday, January 10, 2011

American Farm Bureau Federation and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau File Complaint Against the Environmental Protection Agency

In response to the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issuing the final Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Loads (“Bay TMDLs”), the American Farm Bureau Federation and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against EPA on January 10, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, to challenge EPA’s Bay TMDLs.  Plaintiffs argue that the Bay TMDLs improperly intrude upon a state’s authority to make water quality decisions and that the Bay TMDLs were based on improperly calibrated models that used erroneous assumptions.  Additionally, the Plaintiffs claim that the public did not sufficiently participate in the TMDL process and that EPA failed to provide the public a meaningful opportunity to comment on the TMDLs.  The Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief against EPA’s enforcement of the Bay TMDLs and ask the court to vacate the Bay TMDLs.  For the complete complaint please view Jan. 10, 2011 AFBF Complaint.

Written by Jay Angle, Research Assistant

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

President Obama Signs Bill S3481 to Amend the Clean Water Act

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On Janurary 4, 2011, President Obama signed Bill S3481 into law.  Bill S3481 amends the Clean Water Act to require federal agencies to pay stormwater management fees.  Previously, some federal agencies claimed that the fees were essentially a tax and that the federal government cannot be taxed.  With the signing of Bill S3481, federal agencies are now obligated to pay those stormwater management fees, regardless of whether the fee is denominated as a tax.  Stormwater is one of the major contributors to pollution in the Bay through runoff that carries excess nutrients, pollutants, and sediment.  For more information on Bill S3481 please visit Thomas (Library of Congress).

Written by Jay Angle, Research Assistant