NGWA Submits Letter to EPA Urging Rescinding Guidance Memorandum on Supreme Court Decision

NGWA and 13 other groundwater organizations sent a letter on July 19 to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox urging the rescinding of the guidance memorandum “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 guidance memorandum, which was published in January, is meant to provide technical guidance to regulators and groundwater users and permitting authorities on applying the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the County of Maui V. Hawaii Wildlife Fund case as it pertains to the Clean Water Act’s NPDES permitting program.

During the guidance’s public review phase, NGWA and several other groundwater organizations submitted comments to the EPA highlighting their concerns that the guidance was often vague and not applicable to “real world” scenarios. In addition, the organizations say it was not drafted with sufficient input from state permitting authorities and groundwater stakeholders.

In the letter sent, NGWA states that immediately rescinding the guidance will “eliminate the challenges and possible confusion created now for states that already have dischargers applying for permits and renewals based on the guidance memorandum.”

Last year, NGWA formed a new taskforce to work with the EPA and groundwater stakeholders on drafting new guidance stemming from the Supreme Court’s decision. In June, members of the task force along with the Groundwater Protection Council met with EPA administrators to provide feedback and ideas on how to draft more applicable EPA guidance. The letter submitted to the EPA also includes an invitation for the EPA to attend a special session focusing on the guidance at the 2021 NGWA Groundwater Summit, December 7-8.

Click here to read the letter.