Court Dismisses CWA Citizen Suit for NPDES Permit Violations
A district court dismissed an environmental groups' citizen suit against a water authority for alleged CWA and state law violations in connection with the discharge of storm water from a municipal separate storm sewer system to the Allegheny River. The groups did not argue that the authority violated its NPDES permit. Rather, they argued that the authority's failure to enforce ordinances imposed by the permit resulted in a violation of the permit and, therefore, a violation of the CWA. But the plain language of the NPDES permit in no way imposes a condition that if the ordinances are violated, the permit itself is violated.
Court Upholds Regional Plan for Lake Tahoe Area Basin
A district court upheld the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's latest land use and development plan for the Lake Tahoe Area Basin, located along the California and Nevada border. The updated plan, issued in 2012, includes the agency's adoption of a regional transportation plan and the incorporation of Lake Tahoe's TMDL. Environmental groups argued that the planning agency's failure to analyze the impacts of concentrating impervious coverage was arbitrary and capricious. But the court must be “at its most deferential” in reviewing an agency's scientific methodology, including the scope and scale of its studies. Here, the plan's shift to the TMDL model was supported by substantial evidence and is entitled to deference.
The April issue of ELR's News & Analysis includes articles on the role of standards in National Forest planning, law, and management; ownership models for geological sequestration, and fears about pollution training and hotspots. The issue also includes a piece on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, and looks at whether the CAA is an "environmental veneer" for protectionism. Also included is a transcript from an ELI seminar on regulating emissions "outside the facility fence line" under CAA §111.