Basics of the Clean Water Act (ELI Summer School, 2018)

June 26, 2018 12:00 pm — 2:00 pm
Washington, DC (and webcast)

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.

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.

Although "water" is a straightforward concept, recent Supreme Court decisions and a contentious EPA rulemaking have created enormous confusion surrounding what types of water are subject to federal regulation. While the EPA’s 2-year delay on implementation of the 2015 Clean Water Rule is still in effect, what would be the impacts of the 6th U.S. Circuit of Appeals’ decision to lift its stay that have barred the enforcement of the rule? Are there pertaining implications for lawyers?

The panel also addressed:

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

Elizabeth Armistead Andrews, Professor of the Practice of Law, and Director, Virginia Coastal Policy Center, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William & Mary
David Lastra, Regional Criminal Enforcement Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 3
Kathy Robb, Principal, Sive, Paget & Riesel P.C.
Amanda Waters, General Counsel, National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)

Elizabeth Andrews presentation
David Lastra (subbing for Chris Day) presentation
Kathy Robb presentation
Amanda Waters presentation

Supplemental Materials:
Written testimony of Amanda Waters, NACWA, before the US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works ( April 18, 2018)
Groundwater & the Clean Water Act (Kathy Robb & Christine Leas, The Water Report, April 15, 2018)

Useful Links:
Introduction to the Clean Water Act
NPDES Program
EPA General Introduction to Wastewater Treatment
EPA General Guidance on Types of Stormwater
EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund General information
EPA Regulation Information Concerning “Water”
EPA National Enforcement Initiative: Keeping Raw Sewage and Contaminated Stormwater Out of Our Nation's Water (CSO map/enforcement)

**See the entire Summer School 2018 schedule HERE.**