Update on NPDES Court Ruling on Aquatic Herbicides

If you scroll down you will find a story we posted a few weeks back regarding the US Sixth Circuit Court decision regarding the need for an NPDES permit for the application of aquatic herbicides. A 2001 court decision required this type of permit for states in the Ninth Circuit Court and EPA issued a final rule that basically overturned the need for one. That lead to more suits and this Sixth Circuit Court Decision that vacated that rule.

We have recently learned that the vacation of the rule is not yet effective until at least April 9th when the next hearing on this matter takes place. The strategy of the EPA will be to seek a stay of the court ruling unitl they can develop a general permit. The next hearing on this matter is in early April, so check back for additional information.

In the mean time, lakes in those states such as California and Washington where an NPDES permit is available should consider working under it this coming season to protect against third party lawsuits should the Court not grant the stay.  The Clean Water Act that sets up the guidelines for NPDES permits allows for Citizen Lawsuits.  These groups can sue anyone that does not have an NPDES permit that discharges aquatic herbicides into receiving waters and could be successful if this issue isn’t resolved by the court. 

If you have an interest in this you should also visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=41

This EPA site will be upated regulary as this process moves along.

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