Ninth Circuit rules that owners of storm water systems (e.g., cities, counties, districts) are liable for discharges of polluted stormwater into rivers and ocean

It is well known that stormwater gathers a variety of pollutants as it flows across the landscape and even through stormwater drainage systems. See, for example, http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=6 and http://www.epa.gov/owow_keep/NPS/index.html . In NRDC v. County of Los Angeles, Ninth...

Administration announces plans for new regulations regarding wetlands, but specifics are lacking for now

The Administration has announced that it will propose new regulations to protect wetlands and smaller streams; unfortunately, specifics are lacking at present. The Administration appears to believe that their new regulations will fit within the constraints imposed by recent U.S. Supreme Court cases on...

The Ninth Circuit reads very narrowly the circumstances under which attorney's fees will not be awarded to a prevailing party in CWA litigation

The Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance sued the City of Seward, Alaska, for violation of the CWA in discharging pollutants without an NPDES permit from both the small boat harbor and the industrial park. About 9 months later, both parties filed MSJ; the District Court granted plaintiff's motion...

Did Gulf surface bacteria not find Deepwater Horizon oil to be a complete diet?

Prior posts have discussed various aspects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its impact on the biota of the Gulf. Bioremediation has several goals. First, one uses nature to remediate contamination, saving significant sums. Second, the "food" (contaminant) should cause the bacteria to...

RCRA imminent & hazardous endangerment notice must be specific, notes Second Circuit

A RCRA notice is mandatory, as noted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hallstrom v. Tillamook County , 493 U.S. 20, 26 (1989). The purpose of the notice is to a) inform public agencies of the alleged problem so that they can ascertain if they wish to take action, and b) provide the alleged violator with sufficient...

Colorado District Attorney lacks standing to bring citizen suit under Clean Water Act

A local Colorado district attorney, among others, filed suit against a city for allegedly discharging pollutants into a creek in violation of the CWA. The District Court granted the city's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the district attorney lacked standing. In Thiebaut et al v...

State Agency does not necessarily have exclusive expertise to address remediation such that CWA & RCRA citizen suit claims are to be dismissed, especially where there is a lack of ongoing formal state proceedings

NL Industries owned a site through 2005. It entered into an administrative consent order with the State of New Jersey which required it to clean-up part of a site and investigate other portions, including sediments in an adjacent river. The sediments showed elevated metals. NL concluded that the...

Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center makes some interesting points on the scope and interpretation of the CWA

In Decker v. Northwest Envtl. Def. Ctr ., 2013 U.S. LEXIS 2373 (3/20/13), the Court addressed stormwater runoff from logging roads in Oregon. Georgia-Pacific et al used two logging roads from which rainwater runs off into ditches, culverts, and channels that discharge into nearby rivers and streams....