The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge by commercial shipping industry trade associations to EPA’s nationwide Clean Water Act (CWA) permit governing discharges from ships. Lake Carriers’ Ass’n v. EPA, No. 09-1001 (D.C. Cir. 7/22/11). Petitioners challenged the nationwide permit, which contained more than 100 state requirements affecting about 69,000 vessels, arguing that insufficient time had been provided to comment on the state requirements because they were not part of the proposed general permit that was released in June 2008. They also argued that the state requirements pose an unfair burden on vessels that may move through several states and thereby be subject to several different laws and regulations.
Rejecting petitioners’ arguments, the court held that states have primacy in enforcing their own water pollution standards and that EPA does not have authority to alter or reject state certification conditions. According to the court, petitioners may challenge state regulations they believe to be inordinately