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San Francisco Baykeeper v. Cargill Salt Div.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20061
Nos. Nos. 04-17554, -05-15051, (9th Cir., 03/08/2007)

The court reversed a lower court's grant of summary judgment in favor of environmental groups in their case against a salt company for discharging, without a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit, salt production waste into a pond located next to Mowry Slough, which directly connects to the San Francisco Bay. The court ruled that mere adjacency to a protected water provides a basis for CWA coverage only when the relevant waterbody is a wetland. Here, the body of water into which the company allegedly discharged waste is a non-navigable, intrastate pond, not a wetland. The group's adjacency argument therefore fails. Because no other reason for CWA coverage of the pond is supported by evidence or is properly before the court, the lower court decision was reversed.