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NRDC v. McCarthy

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20021
Nos. 16-cv-02184-JST, (N.D. Cal., 02/07/2017) (Tigar, J.)

A district court denied EPA's motion to dismiss a claim by environmental groups that the Agency must review California's emergency waiver of federal water quality standards. In the wake of an historic drought, California's governor issued a Drought Emergency Proclamation and directed the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to “consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases or diversion limitations, where existing requirements were established to implement a water quality control plan.” SWRCB approved modifications to water quality standards in the Bay-Delta and Central Valley Plans. Environmental groups challenged these actions and claimed that EPA has a non-discretionary duty to review SWRCB orders under the CWA. EPA argued the case was moot as the SWRCB order expired in 2014. The court disagreed, stating that the dispute could reasonably recur and that the groups plausibly alleged a non-discretionary duty under the CWA.