Wastewater and Stormwater Discharge Permits
Michael represents industrial, municipal, and other clients on all aspects of NPDES wastewater and stormwater discharge permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA), indirect discharge permits to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), and underground injection control (UIC) permits. These matters include negotiating permit terms, defending and challenging agency permit decisions, providing compliance advice, and defending against agency and citizen enforcement actions. A representative selection of recent matters includes:
- Negotiating the terms of NPDES and indirect discharge permits for industrial and municipal facilities, including electric power plants, offshore oil and gas facilities in Alaska, chemical manufacturers, pulp and paper mills, wood products facilities, steel mills, nonferrous metals manufacturing facilities, publicly owned treatment works, and municipal stormwater systems.
- An administrative appeal of the terms of an NPDES permit issued to a wood products facility.
- Defending administrative and judicial challenges by nongovernmental organizations to the provisions of NPDES permits issued to an oil refinery and a nonferrous metal manufacturing facility.
- Negotiating settlements of agency administrative enforcement actions against a variety of facilities, including municipal water treatment plants, wood preserving facilities, construction sites, and metals manufacturing facilities.
- Defending or negotiating settlements of CWA citizen suits against wood products, recycling, and equipment manufacturing facilities and users of logging roads.
Development of General NPDES Permits, Water Quality Standards, and Other Water Quality Regulations
Michael has represented coalitions and individual industrial and utility clients in developing, negotiating, and defending general NPDES permits, water quality standards, and other water quality regulations and guidance in the Pacific Northwest. In these efforts, Michael often serves as the industrial representative on agency advisory committees for the development of water quality standards and general discharge permits. Recent matters include:
- Developing and negotiating Oregon water quality criteria and implementing regulations for toxic pollutants.
- Administratively challenging and negotiating water quality standards and developing a use attainability analysis (UAA) for a Colorado stream channel.
- Developing and negotiating Oregon general industrial stormwater permits.
- Challenging agency guidance and settlement agreement provisions related to compliance schedules for water quality-based effluent limits in NPDES permits.
- Litigation challenging EPA approvals of Oregon temperature and mercury total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and Washington water quality standards.
- Commenting on proposed listings of water quality limited waterbodies pursuant to CWA subsection 303(d).
Section 401 Certifications for the Relicensing of Federally Licensed Hydroelectric Facilities
Much of Michael’s practice is devoted to helping hydroelectric facilities obtain section 401 certifications in conjunction with the relicensing of the facilities by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This includes strategic advice regarding information needs, negotiating information demands by certifying agencies, negotiating certification conditions, and addressing related matters, such as TMDL allocations, water quality criteria revisions and variances, and the application of state law to federally licensed facilities. In relicensing proceedings involving a negotiated settlement, this work includes negotiating settlement terms to integrate the certification into the broader settlement agreement. Representative certifications, including pending certifications, include:
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- Certification of a multi-facility hydroelectric project in Oregon as part of a negotiated FERC relicensing proceeding.
- Certification of the interim operation and ultimate removal of a hydroelectric facility in Oregon as part of a negotiated FERC relicensing proceeding.
- Certification of a multi-facility hydroelectric project in Washington as part of a negotiated FERC relicensing proceeding.
- Certification of the removal of a hydroelectric facility in Washington pursuant to a negotiated settlement.
- Certification of a multi-facility hydroelectric project in Oregon.
- Pending certification of a multi-facility, multi-state hydroelectric project in the Pacific Northwest.