Northwest Resource Law

We all know the federal government is hamstrung by partisan gridlock.  Where once lawmakers recognized that passing legislation required that both parties end up being able to claim success, that no one got everything they wanted, and that progress was never perfect, today there seem to be new rules holding forth:  “I will only ‘compromise’ with you if I get everything I wanted, and I get all the credit.”  “If you have to eat some…
Note: this is part 3 of 3 in my series of how the new administration may impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. For background, please see Part 1 and Part 2. Sediment Cleanup Sites Things are moving quickly with the new administration. Since publishing Part 1 of this series on Monday, the Trump Administration announced that it had tapped state Senators Don Benton and Doug Ericksen as part of the “beachhead…
Note: this is part 2 of 3 in my series of how the new administration may impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. For background, please see Part 1. Tribal Relations One of the key factors influencing environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest is the presence of and obligations owed to a number of tribes that are parties to treaties with the United States that extend back to the 1850s.…
On Friday morning, I boarded a plane in Chicago and by the time I touched down in Seattle, Trump had been sworn into office. We’ve received a number of questions from clients and friends asking us how the regime change will impact environmental law and policy in the Pacific Northwest. The quick answer is one that recognizes that state-level politics (which drives much of the environmental policy in Washington) has not changed in the seismic…
If you have not yet seen the press, yesterday, EPA issued its final rule revising water quality standards for toxics in Washington. This finalizes the draft rule published more than a year ago, and comes on the heels of the lawsuit brought against EPA for not finalizing that rule in a timely fashion. It also comes on the heels of Washington submitting its own water quality standards to EPA for approval under the Clean Water…
On April 14, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that it would not list the Pacific Fisher under the Endangered Species Act. The fisher (Pekania pennant) is presently found in Southern Oregon, Northern California, and the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, although historically, the species ranged the northern forests of Canada and the United States, as well as forests in the Appalachian, Rocky, and Pacific Coast Mountains. The fisher’s range was reduced in the…
Earthjustice, representing a number of environmental groups, sued EPA on Friday alleging that EPA is in violation of the Clean Water Act because it has not finalized the draft rule it published back in September that set water quality standards for toxics in Washington based on higher fish consumption rates. This lawsuit is not a surprise, because it came after the requisite 60-day notice was sent to EPA back in December. It is also not the…
Yesterday, following quickly on the heels of Governor Inslee’s withdrawal of Washington’s version of the fish consumption rule, EPA released draft water quality standards for toxics for Washington. These standards, if adopted, are significantly more stringent than those Ecology had proposed. By way of background, the core issue that emerged over the last two years is the attainability of water quality standards for toxics based on a high (175 gram per day) fish consumption rate. Governor…
I have written extensively on the efforts by the Washington Department of Ecology to revise Washington’s Water Quality Standards to account for a higher fish consumption rate. This summer was when we were supposed to see the final rule be submitted to EPA for review and possible approval. In a nutshell, the controversy around this rule has to do with the upward revision in the fish consumption rate used to calculate Washington’s Water Quality Standards.…
This is another in the series of guest posts authored by the consultants we work with and trust. Owen Reese is a Water Resources Engineer at Aspect Consulting approached us and offered to provide Aspect’s perspective on Ecology’s efforts to update its Water Quality Assessment for freshwater. We eagerly took Owen up on the offer because this work by Ecology has the potential to impact a number of dischargers throughout Washington State and fits well…