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EPA sued to increase stormwater oversight

Article link to Bloomberg:

“In a lawsuit filed late Dec. 18, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Center allege the EPA ignored a 2003 Ninth Circuit ruling that required the agency to strengthen its 1999 regulations to govern stormwater runoff from cities and suburbs with a population of less than 100,000.”

If you’ve been around stormwater for a while you know that lawsuits by environmental groups have been a major factor in driving past regulatory changes. My goal here is not to argue for or against the practice of suing the EPA, but to simply point out that it has been effective in creating new regulations and causing the agency to react to the priorities named in the suits.

The core argument of the lawsuit seems to be that the EPA allowed cities and counties (MS4s: Municipal Separate Stormwater Systems) to decide how to regulate stormwater. The environmental groups bringing suit want the EPA to regulate which specific types of pollution controls MS4s, and the suit is essentially asking the court to force the EPA to act on existing regulation.

So is this likely to create new regulations? Probably not at the federal level, but you can anticipate more “trickle down” pressure on permitted states, who in turn will pressure MS4s. The end result is very likely to be more review of MS4 programs, and eventually could trigger more demanding pollution controls and greater local enforcement.  Stay tuned. This could have long reaching impact…

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