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Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter v. Department of Envtl. Quality

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20025
Nos. No. 269181, (Mich. Ct. App., 01/15/2008)

A Michigan appellate court held that Michigan's concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) permit program violates the Clean Water Act (CWA) because it does not require inclusion of the required minimum effluent limitations in the general permit and it does not provide for the requisite public participation. The discharge rates of a CAFO's nutrient management plan are “effluent limitations” as defined by the CWA because they affect the rates of discharge from a point source into navigable waters. Therefore, in the interest of maintaining the biological integrity of the nation's navigable waters, such discharge rates must be subject to the state agency's meaningful review. And because the CWA requires public participation in the development, revision, and enforcement of any effluent limitation, CAFO nutrient management plans must be subject to public review and comment before the state agency approves the permit.