The Implementation of the Clean Water Act

The federal Clean Water Act is a collection of laws passed by Congress that together form the principal federal law on preventing water pollution. This includes permanent lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and other nonintermittent bodies of water. Passed in 1972, over the veto of President Nixon, the act was later amended in 1977 and 1987, and is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, who has rulemaking and enforcement powers under the Clean Water Act. The Act addresses surface water contamination, focusing on wastewater treatment and pollution sources affecting navigable waters of the United States. The Act encourages the EPA to

The Problem with Offering Flood Insurance Subsidies

Flood insurance is always on point. I had a letter in The Columbia Flier on the value of mitigation vis-à-vis flood insurance subsidies in Ellicott City, Maryland. The letter does not seem to be in the online edition, so here it is. Also, why do newspaper editors like to turn every sentence into its own paragraph? In the July 20th edition, Michael W. Roth argued that the County should consider flood insurance subsidies for Ellicott City. (“Examine flood insurance subsidies for Ellicott City,” Letters) While I am sure Mr. Roth is well-intentioned, insurance subsidies would cause more problems than they

Ensuring Water Security

Water security is a complex issue with a lot of independently moving parts. While the earth’s surface is three-quarters water, almost all of that is ocean, unusable due to its salinity. There are limited freshwater resources available for everyday use, consumption by humans and human food products. Global climate change is slowing replenishment of fresh water supplies while there has been no let up in demand. In 2012, the United States created the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) to help provide access to information about water and provide outlets for collaboration on water improvement projects. Of course, this is only a

The Flood Insurance Purchase Requirement

Here’s an interesting bit of flood insurance news. On May 24th, the Federal Reserve Board issued an order to SunTrust Bank for violations of the National Flood Insurance Act. The order itself does not provide a lot of detail, and I have no inside information, but I can only assume SunTrust was extending loans for property in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) without enforcing the flood insurance requirement, mandated by statute. This type of adjudicatory order is rather rare, but here are two examples from the Comptroller of the Currency, both from 2015: Amory Federal Savings & Loan Association

New Court Decision on Flood Insurance

Gary Woodson v. Allstate Insurance Company is an interesting new decision that just came out of the Fourth Circuit regarding flood insurance, which transfers full jurisdiction over claims relating to flood damage to the Federal courts, subject to the National Flood Insurance Act. This is quite big. Historically, insurance regulation is handled at the state level. Accordingly, there’s not a huge body of law at the Federal level on insurance. So claims relating to flood insurance, even when heard in Federal courts, are often guided by local state rules and regulations. As a result, each United States District has established