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Mississippi River Revival v. Minneapolis, Minn., City of

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20629
Nos. Nos. 99-1596 DDA/FLN, -1597 DDA/FLN, 145 F. Supp. 2d 1062/52 ERC 1701/(D. Minn., 05/02/2001) mootness

The court dismisses as moot a citizen suit brought under the Clean Water Act (CWA) against two cities for discharging water into the Mississippi River and related waterways without national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permits. The court first holds that the citizens' claim for injunctive relief is moot. The citizens originally sought declaratory and injunctive relief along with the assessment of civil penalties against the cities. The cities, however, have since received NPDES permits. Therefore, a declaration that the cities' lack of those permits violated the CWA would not compel any additional action on the part of the cities and would do nothing to redress the citizens' injuries. Additionally, a declaration that the cities violated the CWA in the past would not redress the citizens' injuries, and an award of litigation costs is insufficient to confer standing. The court also holds that the citizens' claim for civil penalties is moot. The assessment of civil penalties against the cities will not provide effective redress for the citizens because the penalties are payable to the U.S. Treasury, not the citizens. Moreover, civil penalties will not deter the cities from discharging stormwater without a permit. The cities ceased violating the CWA and no evidence in the record supports an inference that the cities are likely to violate their NPDES permits in the future.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Richard B. Bates
Bates Law Office
St. Paul MN 55101
(651) 690-9671

Counsel for Defendant
Corey M. Conover, Ass't City Attorney
City Attorney's Office
333 S. 7th St., Minneapolis MN 55402
(612) 673-2010

Alsop, J.