Mass Rivers Sues EPA Over Stormwater

Stormwater pollution is the number one contaminant for waterways in Massachusetts and for a short time, it appeared that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was ready to address this issue through the implementation of a new stormwater permit.

After nearly a decade of negotiations among local, state, and federal authorities, the EPA announced this summer that it was was going to hold off on implementing the permit for at least another year, saying they were complying with requests from towns that have opposed the plan.

The permit delay followed a series of environmental rollbacks at the EPA since President Trump was inaugurated. In addition, state officials at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection had the option to implement the permit instead, but they declined to do so.

At the federal and the state level, we have not seen the leadership that our rivers deserve. The failure of EPA to implement the new stormwater permit was a clear case of overreach from a federal administration that has actively undercut environmental protections.

In response, on Friday, September 22nd, the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance and nine of our member groups filed a lawsuit in federal district court, asking the court to revoke the EPA’s one-year stay of the Massachusetts stormwater permit (MS4), and implement the permit immediately.  

Joining Mass Rivers were the following co-plaintiffs:

  • Connecticut River Conservancy
  • Ipswich River Watershed Association
  • Jones River Watershed Association
  • OARS – Organization for the Assabet, Concord and Sudbury Rivers
  • Merrimack River Watershed Council
  • Mystic River Watershed Association
  • Neponset River Watershed Association
  • North and South Rivers Watershed Association
  • Taunton River Watershed Alliance

Stay tuned for further details on our lawsuit against the EPA.

Photo credit: Ken McGagh/Milford Daily News