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Maine v. McCarthy

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20182
Nos. 1:14-cv-000264, (D. Me., 11/18/2016) (Levy, J.)

A district court held the CWA's citizen suit provision does not allow for judicial review of EPA's decision to disapprove Maine's water quality standards. In 2015, EPA issued a formal decision in which it approved some of Maine’s water quality standards but disapproved three of Maine’s human health criteria "[f]or all waters in Indian lands." The state then challenged the decision under the APA and the CWA. But the crux of the complaint is that EPA erred when it disapproved certain state water quality standards, not that EPA failed to review them. Although reviewing water quality standards is mandatory, approving or rejecting them is discretionary. Accordingly, Maine failed to state a claim that EPA has failed to act for purposes of CWA §505(a)(2). The court therefore granted EPA's motion to dismiss the claim. But the court declined to address whether Maine's APA claim should also be dismissed at this time.