Efforts to enhance water quality include citizen oversight of the development of effluent limitations set forth in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. Because concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) generate considerable manure that may be associated with water pollution, environmental groups have challenged EPA’s regulations, including the absence of a right to participate in the development of effluent limitations. Without public input, there is a restricted dialogue on alternatives and fewer opportunities for enforcement actions. Revised regulations covering discharges from CAFOs contain new requirements for permit applicants. Before the authorization of any discharge by a permitting authority, the public must have an opportunity to evaluate the effluent standards. A review of several cases suggests that the participation requirements apply not only to new discharges, but also modifications to discharges in existing permits. The regulations and cases suggest that citizens can be even more active in championing environmental quality.
Terence J. Centner,
Challenging NPDES Permits Granted Without Public Participation,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.