On Dec. 19, The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) announced that they sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen standards to prevent pollution from stormwater. The suit, filed Dec. 18 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, charges EPA has failed to implement that court’s 2003 ruling ordering the agency to correct and strengthen rules for urban runoff that flows through municipal sewer systems. The court also ordered EPA to decide whether it has an obligation under the Clean Water Act to regulate runoff from forest roads.
According to environmental groups, the appeals court found that EPA’s urban runoff rules for communities with populations under 100,000 do not comply with the Clean Water Act because they rely on self-regulation by local municipalities and do not allow for public participation when local pollution controls are being set.
Earlier this year, EPA announced the deferment of the proposed stormwater rule. Further, in 2012, the agency said it was considering options for regulating forest road runoff. However, it has offered no timeline for a decision. In the lawsuit, EDC and NRDC seek a court order imposing clear deadlines for EPA to act.