EPA rescinds guidance on Maui decision and discharges to groundwater

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rescinded a January 2021 guidance document entitled “Applying the Supreme Court’s County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund Decision in the Clean Water Act Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program.” The rescinded memo discussed discharges to groundwater and whether a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is required.

The agency rescinded the guidance based on their belief that it is inconsistent with the Clean Water Act and 2020 County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund Supreme Court decision. The EPA believes that this action preserves long-standing clean-water protections.

While the EPA’s Office of Water evaluates next steps, past practices guided by the Supreme Court’s decision will continue. The EPA will work with state permitting agencies and the regulatory community to provide site-specific, science-based evaluations based on the Clean Water Act permitting requirements.

If you have questions about how the Maui decision may impact you, state-specific regulations, or NPDES permits, contact us at askbarr@barr.com.

For more information on the Maui decision, see the following resources:

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