Selenium discharges from coal mines in West Virginia and other states have been the subject of contentious and expensive litigation, regulatory enforcement and EPA permit objections for over a decade, including stringent effluent limitations in NPDES permits and agency- or judicially-mandated construction of sometimes multi-million-dollar selenium treatment systems.1 The basis for the water quality criteria… Read More »
Over ten years after the first coal NPDES permit in West Virginia included a selenium condition, over ten years after the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) first proposed to revise its recommended aquatic life criteria for selenium, after years of litigation challenging permits for including – or not including – selenium effluent limitations, and… Read More »
In the midst of the current economic downturn, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“WVDEP”) had proposed significant changes to the agency’s water program rules. Note that changes adopted during the 2016 legislative session for the WQS rule are to become effective on July 8, 2016.
On February 11, 2016, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”), together with the National Marine Fisheries Service (“MFS”) (collectively “Services”) published two final rules and a final policy that purport to clarify their procedures for listing species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and designating and revising critical habitat for listed species. Hundreds… Read More »
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released its final 4(d) rule related to the endangerment finding made by FWS regarding the northern long eared bat (NLE) which was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) last year. The NLE is found in 37 states, the District of Columbia, and 13 Canadian… Read More »
On August 11, 2015, a United States District Court judge halted a years-long effort by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”) to smooth the federal permitting path for wind energy. Shearwater et al. v. Ashe, No. 14-CV-02830-LHK (N. D. Cal.)(August 11, 2015). Specifically, the judge set aside a rule allowing for activities such… Read More »
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (“WVDEP”) proposed rule revisions for consideration during the 2016 regular legislative session are now available on the WVDEP website, including long-awaited revisions being proposed to the state’s existing aluminum and selenium water quality criteria. The state’s water quality standards rule, 47 C.S.R., Series 2, is proposed to be… Read More »
Coal, oil and gas, timber, and multiple other activities within the Guyandotte and Big Sandy watersheds in West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky will be subject to new restrictions if the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proceeds with its recent proposal to list two crayfish species as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.