Environmental Law & Policy Alerts – Update from Somach, Simmons & Dunn

January 14, 2021

Sacramento Superior Court Rejects State Water Board’s Attempt to Apply Water Quality Control Plan to Waters Not Covered by the Clean Water Act
The Sacramento County Superior Court recently issued a final decision in San Joaquin Tributaries Authority v. California State Water Resources Control Board, finding that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) is not authorized to adopt a state-level water quality control plan for waters that are not classified as waters of the United States.  As a result, the State Board is prohibited from applying the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters and Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California to wetlands that do not meet the federal definition of waters of the United States.  At the same time, the court confirmed that authority for adopting and implementing water quality control plans for such waters resides with the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Board).  Thus, the extent to which this decision may impact a person discharging to such waters will depend on the Regional Board jurisdiction in which the discharger is located…. Read More Written by Ellen M. Simmons and Brittany K. Johnson