Lawsuit Threatened if US EPA Fails to Take Action Against New Pennsylvania Law

Philadelphia, PA – Late yesterday , August 22nd, the US Environmental Protection Agency received a 60 day Notice
of Intent to Sue from Pine Creek Watershed Association, the Raymond Proffitt Foundation, and the Delaware
Riverkeeper Network, urging the agency to take action against a recently passed Pennsylvania law, Act 41, that
the organizations say violates federal law and therefore must be struck down.

On July 2, 2013, Governor Corbett signed Act 41 into law. This new law establishes that on-lot sewage systems
that are in compliance with the Sewage Facilities Act and its regulations automatically satisfy the state’s
antidegradation regulations. Prior to Act 41, the Sewage Facilities regulations required that on-lot septic plan
revisions be reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to ensure they are consistent
with antidegradation regulations; however, the new law by passes that requirement. According to the Notice
letter, in passing Act 41, “Pennsylvania has adopted state standards that will allow degradation of its waterways in
clear violation of Pennsylvania’s EPA-approved antidegradation policy.” As such, this law brings the state into
conflict with the federal Clean Water Act, and as a result, EPA is compelled to take action to strike the law.
The organizations request in their letter that the EPA review and disapprove Act 41 as failing to comply with the
federal Clean Water Act, and in its place promulgate new standards for Pennsylvania that specifically override Act
41. If the EPA fails to act, the letter suggests that the three organizations may bring legal action against the EPA
for its failure to perform its legal obligations under the law.

Climate and Energy Meeting: “First, Do No Harm in Climate and Energy Issues” presented by Physicians for Social Responsibility.
When, Where: September 12th, 5:30 – 8:30p.m. Fairmount Waterworks in Philadelphia.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply