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Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20135
Nos. 2:16-cv-00293, (W.D. Wash., 08/03/2016) (Rothstein, J.)

A district court ordered EPA to promulgate revised water quality standards for Washington state by September 15, 2016, or, in the alternative, by November 15, 2016, if the state submits its own water quality standards by September 15. A key factor in determining the requisite water quality standards for the state of Washington is the number of fish that people consume, known as the fish consumption rate. Last year, EPA determined that Washington set its fish consumption rate too low and proposed a new fish consumption rate for use in calculating Washington’s water quality standards. But EPA failed to meet the deadline for issuing final standards. An environmental group therefore filed suit, seeking an injunction that required EPA to comply with the CWA and promulgate revised water quality standards. EPA did not dispute the facts and agreed that the court should enter an injunction. But instead of issuing the standards within 30 days of the court order, as requested by the group, EPA requested that the court order the Agency to promulgate revised water quality standards by September 15, 2016, or, in the alternative, by November 15, 2016, if Washington submits its own water quality standards. Because the parties' respective requests for when EPA should promulgate water quality standards are not far apart, the court determined that setting a schedule in accordance with EPA's suggested dates will satisfy the groups' concerns.