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Coalition Sues EPA Over Massachusetts Stormwater Permit Delay

September 28, 2017

On behalf of 10 watershed protection groups in Massachusetts, last Friday, September 22nd, Earthrise filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Massachusetts challenging the Trump EPA’s decision to stay the implementation of the state’s new municipal stormwater permit. The permit, known as the “MS4,” for small “municipal separate storm sewer systems,” regulates stormwater pollution under the federal Clean Water Act. Issued jointly in 2016 by the EPA and MassDEP, it covers 260 entities in Massachusetts, including municipalities and federal and state facilities. The permit was scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2017. Stormwater, which runs off land, roads, and buildings when it rains, carries fertilizer pollution, harmful bacteria, oil, gas, toxic metals, and salt into nearby waterways.

“Stormwater is the state’s number one pollution problem,” said Massachusetts Rivers Alliance Executive Director Julia Blatt, “and this permit is a product of extensive public input as well as eight long years of negotiation among the state DEP, the EPA, and many stakeholders. The EPA pulled the rug out from under the state’s pollution control efforts by announcing this delay two days before the effective date.”

“Earthrise is happy to be representing a broad coalition of organizations around the state in their efforts to stop what is one of many attempts by the Pruitt EPA to roll back important environmental protections,” said Earthrise Senior Attorney Kevin Cassidy. Earthrise is co-counseling the case with Access to Justice Fellow Irene Freidel. Joining Massachusetts Rivers Alliance as plaintiffs are watershed groups representing the Connecticut; Mystic; Taunton; Merrimack; Ipswich; North and South; Jones; Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord; and Neponset Rivers.

 

Click here to read the Complaint.

Click here to read the press release from Massachusetts Rivers Alliance. 

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