EPA Rescinds Previous Administration’s Guidance On Clean Water Act Permit Requirements

EPA Washington, DC

EPA is rescinding a 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” that was issued by the Trump administration on January 14, 2021. The previous Administration’s Maui guidance reduced clean water protections by creating a new factor for determining if a discharge of pollution from a point source through groundwater that reaches a water of the US is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge to such water. The addition of that factor skewed the “functional equivalent” analysis in a way that could reduce the number of discharges requiring a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The agency determined that this is inconsistent with the Clean Water Act and the Supreme Court decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund

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