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Idaho Conservation League v. Atlanta Gold Corp.

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20015
Nos. 1:11-cv-161-MHW, (D. Idaho, 01/09/2012) (Williams, J.)

A district court held that a mining company is liable for discharging arsenic and iron into a nearby creek in violation of its NPDES permit. The company did not deny or admit that it is in violation of its permit. Instead, it argued that the environmental group that filed suit against it lacked standing. But the group has alleged actual and particular injury in fact, which can be traced to the mining company, and the alleged injuries could be redressed by a favorable ruling from the court. The group provided monthly discharge monitoring reports showing that the company has in the past and continues to discharge arsenic and iron into a nearby creek at levels higher than are allowed by the company's permit. It also established that it has an interest in recreating both in the creek and at the creek's confluence with the Middle Fork of the Boise River. The group also states that the high levels of arsenic in the water prevent its members from eating the fish caught there or getting into the water. And because the group has alleged ongoing violations that are likely to continue, and because the deterrent effect of civil penalties would likely redress its complaint by encouraging abatement of the violative discharges, the group has established redressability for the injunctive and civil penalty elements of their claim. The group, therefore, has established standing. Nor is the case moot, as it appears that at least for the remaining term of the permit, which expires in June, the allegedly wrongful behavior will likely continue to occur.