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San Francisco Baykeeper v. Vallejo Sanitation & Flood Control Dist.

Citation: 29 ELR 21041
No. CIV-S-96-1554-DFL, 36 F. Supp. 2d 1214/(E.D. Cal., 03/01/1999)

The court holds that an environmental group has standing to seek civil penalties from a sanitation and flood control district for present and future violations of its Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) national pollutant discharge elimination system permit. The court first holds that Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 118 S. Ct. 1003, 28 ELR 20434 (1998), does not bar a claim that is solely for civil penalties. Steel Co. held only that a claim for civil penalties paid to the federal government could not support Article III standing for a citizen-plaintiff alleging wholly past injuries; its holding did not embrace cases involving allegations of ongoing harm. Moreover, Steel Co. did not disturb the Court's prior decision in Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 484 U.S. 49, 18 ELR 20142 (1987), which held that a citizen-plaintiff may seek civil penalties under the FWPCA if there is an allegation of continuous or intermittent violations.

[A prior decision in this litigation is published at 29 ELR 20618.]

[Counsel not available at this printing.]