6th Circ. Creates Deep Divide Over Reach Of CWA

By Anthony Cavender and Amy Pierce (October 17, 2018, 2:33 PM EDT) -- Nearly 50 years ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, whose "stated objective is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation's waters." The law is codified at 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251-1387, and its many authorities are implemented and enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and all state governments. As remarked recently by the Sixth Circuit, "to promote this goal, the CWA forbids all unpermitted polluting of navigable waters ... and these permits are issued pursuant to the statute's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), and a NPDES permit is required to discharge any pollutant."[1] It should be noted that the CWA specifically defines the operative terms "discharge of a pollutant," "navigable waters," and "point source."...

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