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Center for Regulatory Reasonableness v. EPA


Center for Regulatory Reasonableness v. EPA, DC Crt (Case No. CADC–14-1150)

NACWA filed an amicus curiae brief icon-pdf on October 30, 2015 in litigation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, pushing back against EPA's regulatory approach on blending and arguing that a previous federal appellate court ruling on the issue should be applied nationwide. The Association is participating in this case due to the importance of blending for many NACWA members and the leading role it has played in the blending debate over the past two decades.

In 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a decision in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA striking down EPA's efforts to regulate blending through application of secondary treatment limits internal to the treatment plant before the final point of effluent discharge.  EPA responded to this decision by announcing that it would follow the Iowa League holding within the Eighth Circuit but would apply it on a "case-by-case" basis in other parts of the country – thus effectively limiting the decision to the Eighth Circuit.  In 2014, a new lawsuit – Center for Regulatory Reasonableness (CRR) v. EPA – was filed challenging EPA's application of the Iowa League decision.

NACWA's Involvement
NACWA's brief in this case provides a critical national utility perspective on the important issue of blending. It highlights why NACWA believes the 2013 Iowa League of Cities decision should be applied nationally by EPA. If a POTW is meeting its permit limits at the point of discharge, EPA has no legal authority to apply secondary treatment requirements internal to the plant or dictate what kinds of treatment techniques are used within the plant's boundaries, including the use of blending.  The brief further articulates the Association's position that blending, when done consistent with the design and operation of a treatment plant, is not a bypass.

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