Safe Drinking Water: A Tale of Three Cities - Sixteenth Annual Great Lakes Water Conference at University of Toledo College of Law

Safe drinking water will be the focus of the 16th Annual Great Lakes Water Conference on Friday, November 4, 2016 at the University of Toledo College of Law. Todd Flood, Special Counsel for the Michigan Attorney General Flint water crisis investigation (and a Toledo Law alum) will open the conference with a keynote speech, followed by a panel I’m moderating that will explore the situation and legal developments in Flint in more detail (with NRDC... Read more →


Supreme Court allows review of federal wetland jurisdictional determinations before permitting

Earlier this summer, in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., 136 S.Ct. 1807 (2016), the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that an approved jurisdictional determination made by the United States Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act is a “final agency action” subject to immediate judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act. The case gives property owners a more timely chance to challenge federal wetland protection measures on... Read more →


The Flint drinking water crisis - first thoughts and a legal overview

The Flint drinking water crisis is a nightmare for the families and children affected. As the father of school-aged children, my heart breaks for the parents that were betrayed by the system that was supposed to protect their kids but instead put them at unconscionable risk. Giving the kids a bath, pouring them a glass of water, and taking them to school are the daily activities a parent should take for granted as safe. But... Read more →


Crowdsourcing water quality data to enforce the Clean Water Act - guest post by James Lang

The following guest post on crowdsourcing water quality data to enforce the Clean Water Act is by James Lang, who practiced law in Flint for many years, and formerly served as a Board Member of Legal Services of Eastern Michigan. In 2012 and 2013, Mr. Lang was a guest lecturer at MSU’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. His interests include the Great Lakes, water quality, and transparency in government. Mr. Lang earned his B.A. from... Read more →


Federal appeals court blocks the Clean Water Rule, dealing a major blow to the agencies’ attempt to clarify federal jurisdiction over waters and wetlands

The Clean Water Rule (also called the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS rule) was promulgated earlier this summer by the US EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to clarify federal jurisdiction over waters and wetlands in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2006 Rapanos decision. For a detailed background on the Clean Water/WOTUS Rule and the regulatory and litigation history behind it, please refer to this paper by Maureen O'Sullivan, Wayne Law ’16,... Read more →


Federal court rejects weak EPA general permit for ballast water pollution, agency must do a better job protecting Great Lakes from invasive species

The EPA’s Vessel General Permit for discharging ballast water has been rejected by a federal appeals court (opinion here) for failing to adequately protect the Great Lakes and other waters from invasive species. Ballast water discharges are subject to the federal Clean Water Act and the EPA’s prior rule exempting this source of pollution from regulation was previously struck down in Nw. Envtl. Advocates v. EPA, 537 F.3d 1006 (9th Cir. 2008). The EPA issued... Read more →