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Myers v. Bureau of Land Management

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20015
Nos. 13-cv-00701, (D. Colo., 01/13/2015) (Moore, J.)

A district court held BLM liable under the CWA for discharging pollutants from two of its wells into a tributary of the Arkansas River without a permit, but refused to enjoin the agency from further discharges. BLM is clearly in violation of the Act, as it failed to obtain an NPDES permit for the discharges, but the plaintiffs in this case failed to establish irreparable harm. When an environmental agency is engaged in ongoing regulation of the alleged irreparable harm, the threat of irreparable harm is reduced. Here, BLM entered into a “Federal Compliance Agreement" with EPA requiring it to apply for a NPDES permit, to develop site-specific discharge control plans to address discharges from the wells, and to coordinate with EPA and the state of Colorado to minimize adverse impacts to the creek in the event of an uncontrolled discharge. In addition, the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate how these future remedial efforts would not alleviate the harm suffered. Likewise, the public’s interest in clean water is in the process of being fulfilled by EPA's and BLM's agreement. Accordingly, the court held that an injunction was not warranted.