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Simsbury-Avon Preservation Soc'y, Ltd. Liab. Co. v. Metacon Gun Club

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20038
Nos. No. 3:04cv803, (D. Conn., 01/31/2007)

A district court, in light of Rapanos v. United States, 126 S. Ct. 2208, 36 ELR 20116 (2006), dismissed a Clean Water Act citizen suit against a gun range for discharging lead shot into wetlands and a vernal pond bordering the navigable Farmington River in Connecticut. Applying Justice Antonin Scalia's plurality opinion in Rapanos, the court concluded that the wetlands lacked a continuous surface hydrological connection to the river. Although the evidence demonstrated that a surface water connection does at times exist, the citizens offered no evidence showing a continuous connection between the wetlands and the river such that there exists no clear demarcation between waters and wetlands as required by the plurality in Rapanos. And while the parties did not structure their arguments under Justice Anthony Kennedy's "substantial nexus" text, the court went on to conclude that there was insufficient evidence showing that "the wetlands, either alone or in combination with similarly situated lands in the region, significantly affect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity" of the river.