Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Ass'n v. Environmental Protection Agency: Redefining the Role of Public Participation in the Clean Water Act

Seidenberg, Jennifer L.
August 2006
Ecology Law Quarterly;2006, Vol. 33 Issue 3, p699
Academic Journal
The Clean Water Act has been one of the most successful keystone environmental statutes of the past three decades'. Much of the Act's effectiveness in cleaning up the nation's waterways can be attributed to its public participation and citizen suit provisions, which have filled gaps in the often reluctant enforcement capabilities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state agencies. Despite the importance of public participation to the Act, the EPA has gradually cut back on citizen input at the same time it expands its regulatory scheme to important sources of pollution such as storm water runoff. In Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Ass'n v. EPA, the Seventh Circuit created a circuit split on this emerging issue when it departed from the holdings of the Second and Ninth Circuits that required public notice and comment on individual operator's permits despite the existence of an overarching "general permit" system. This Note explores the circuit courts' conflicting analyses, the larger context of the public participation debate surrounding pollution regulation, and also suggests potential middle ground for the Court and policy makers to consider for the resolution of a question critical to the continued success of the Clean Water Act.


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