On July 7, a coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Industrial Stormwater Permit. This permit regulates stormwater in 30 industrial sectors in Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico — states that have not been delegated Clean Water Act permitting authority — as well as in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, at federal facilities, and on tribal lands. In addition, EPA’s permit often sets the bar for delegated states when they write their own permits.
The environmental groups allege that EPA’s industrial stormwater permit contains serious deficiencies that will allow polluters to continue to discharge unreasonably high levels of toxins, metals, and other pollutants into U.S. waterways. Specifically, the groups point to the lack of numeric effluent limits as well as the lack of monitoring requirements for many pollutants that industrial facilities commonly discharge. In the lawsuit, the groups also claim that the permit limits public participation and meaningful government oversight because it gives facilities automatic coverage within 30 days, even if EPA has not reviewed the application. Read more.