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San Jacinto River Authority Permit Appeal


San Jacinto River Authority Permit Appeal

The U.S. Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) released an opinion in July 2010 in the San Jacinto River Authority Permit Appeal.  The Appeals Board remanded the permit back to EPA Region 6 and echoed concerns raised by NACWA about the inclusion of WET limits.  The appeal focused on a permit issued by Region 6 to NACWA member agency the San Jacinto River Authority in Texas with WET limits, despite the fact that the State of Texas had previously issued a permit without WET limits.  In its ruling, the EAB concluded that the permit’s administrative record lacked a complete analysis of how Region 6 applied the Texas water quality WET limitations to their permitting decision, and therefore remanded the permit provisions imposing the WET limits for further clarification.  In particular, the EAB directed the Region to provide further analysis of the statutory and legal basis for the WET limits.  The EAB’s decision is consistent with concerns raised by NACWA both in its brief in the case and at oral argument that EPA had improperly federalized the permit and included WET limits in a manner inconsistent with both Texas’s approved water quality standards and the federal Clean Water Act.

SJRA appealed the permit in part because EPA Region 6 inappropriately federalized an existing state permit and included the contested WET provisions, despite the fact that Texas’s EPA-approved water quality standards did not require WET limits.  NACWA agreed to participate in the case due to the overreach of federal permitting authority and also because of concerns over the testing methods used by EPA to establish the WET limits.  NACWA stands ready to participate in future challenges over this permit if necessary.



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