Stormwater Permitting INGAA�s 9th Cir. Amicus Curiae Letter 7-31-08

INGAA moves for leave to file an amicus curiae letter supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Petition for Rehearing, With a Suggestion for Rehearing En Banc,” filed July 21, 2008. 

In this case, a majority of the Panel in NRDC v. EPA, 526 F.3d 591 (2008), vacated a final EPA rule that established a storm water permitting exemption for discharges of sediment run-off from oil and natural gas construction sites.  Amendments to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Regulations for Storm Water Discharges Associated With Oil and Gas Exploration, Production, Processing, or Treatment Operations or Transmission Facilities, 71 Fed. Reg. 33,628 (Jun. 12, 2006). INGAA’s members construct interstate natural gas transmission, storage and related facilities. While the construction of those natural gas pipeline facilities is subject to the comprehensive regulation by FERC under section 7(c) of the NGA, 15 U.S.C. § 717(c), INGAA members are subject to EPA’s permitting exemption. The Panel Majority’s decision harms INGAA’s members by requiring them to obtain section 402 permits for storm water discharges from constructions activities which are already regulated by the FERC. Thus, the Majority’s decision imposes unnecessary delays and redundant costs on the construction of new interstate natural gas pipeline infrastructure.

INGAA agrees with and adopts the arguments set out in the EPA’s Petition for Rehearing, and Suggestion for Rehearing En Banc.  While INGAA does not proffer additional legal argument, INGAA seeks to bring to the attention of the Court that the case presents a question of exceptional importance in terms of the nationwide impact on an important sector of the economy, namely the natural gas industry.