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Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Inc. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20201
Nos. 2:13-CV-02136, (N.D. Ala., 10/20/2015) (Acker Jr., J.)

A district court upheld the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to issue a general nationwide permit—NWP 21—authorizing discharges from certain coal mining activities into navigable waters. Despite environmental groups' arguments to the contrary, the Corps' issuance of NWP 21 was neither arbitrary nor capricious under the CWA or NEPA. The court deferred to the Corps' determination that the individual and cumulative adverse effects on the aquatic environment resulting from the activities authorized by the permit would be minimal, concluding that the Corp's action was the product of reasoned decisionmaking. In addition, the Corps took the requisite hard look under NEPA in reaching its determination.