EPA Guidance May Exempt Some Water Polluters From Court Permit Mandate

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday released a draft guidance that interprets a Supreme Court decision in a way that may exempt some facilities from needing permits to pollute groundwater.

In April, the court decided that a permit is required for both direct discharges of pollutants into federally-regulated rivers and oceans as well as their “functional equivalent” in groundwater that flows into regulated waters.

The EPA’s new draft guidance, which was first reported by E&E News, says that whether a pollution discharge into groundwater should be considered a “functional equivalent” depends on “what happens to the discharged pollutant over that time and distance traveled” to the regulated body of water.”

Rachel Frazin reports for The Hill December 8, 2020.