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American Canoe Ass'n v. City of Louisa Water & Sewer Comm'n

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20129
Nos. No. 02-6018, (6th Cir., 11/01/2004)

The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded a lower court decision and held that two environmental groups have standing to bring suit against a city for violating its national pollutant discharge elimination system permit. The permit authorized limited discharges of effluent into a river and imposed monitoring and reporting requirements. One group has representational standing because at least one of its members has standing to sue in his own right. That member has an aesthetic and recreational injury due to pollution in the river as well as an informational injury since the failure to report and monitor pollution in the river deprives him of the ability to make choices about whether it is safe to fish, paddle, and recreate in the waterway. The injuries are fairly traceable to the city's actions, and although a future renovation project will eliminate the discharge problems by the time the case is remanded for a judgment on the merits, the injuries are not moot. Both groups also have organizational standing to sue on their own behalf. The violations hamper the groups' monitoring and reporting obligations to their members and their ability to propose legislation and to bring litigation to prevent permit violations, which are essential to their daily organizational activities and to fulfilling their institutional goals.