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Basics of the Clean Water Act (ELI Summer School, 2016)


June 30, 2016


Washington, DC (and via webinar)

Each summer, ELI convenes a complimentary seminar series that offers an introduction to the legal and policy foundations of environmental protection in the United States. The series is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar's Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section.

ELI's Summer School is a series of brown-bag lunch seminars taught by experts in their fields, introducing the audience to the major environmental statutes (including NEPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, TSCA, RCRA, and CERCLA) and land use law. Faculty will also incorporate major regulatory and judicial updates to the laws.

Who will benefit: All are welcome. Students and emerging professionals will have unique opportunities to learn, hear updates, ask questions, and network. The series is intended for:

  • undergraduates,
  • law students and graduate students, and
  • working professionals new to or looking for a refresher course in environmental law (such as interns, summer clerks, and associates, or second-career professionals).

Basics of the Clean Water Act

When first written in 1972, the Clean Water Act called for ending pollution by the 1980s. This course examined the progress made to date, and the progress yet to be made to achieve this goal. The faculty addressed:

  • the regulatory and permitting framework for limiting water pollution, and
  • the important distinction between point sources and nonpoint sources.

Although "water" is a straightforward concept, two recent Supreme Court decisions have created enormous confusion surrounding what types of water are subject to federal regulation. The seminar also highlighted:

  • the distinctions between the regulation of water quality versus water quantity, and
  • the considerations that policymakers face in light of growing demands for water in the context of energy needs and climate change.

Nizanna Bathersfield, Attorney Advisor, Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Matthew B. Henjum, Staff Attorney, Chesapeake Legal Alliance

Bathersfield/Henjum joint presentation

ELI Resources:
Clean Water Act and the Constitution (2nd ed., 2009)
State Constraints: State-Imposed Limitations on the Authority of Agencies to Regulate Waters Beyond the Scope of the Federal Clean Water Act (May 2013, free download)
At the Confluence of the Clean Water Act and Prior Appropriation: The Challenge and Ways Forward (January 2013, free download)
Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Handbook (2d ed., May 2012, free download)

**See the entire Summer School 2016 schedule HERE.**