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Sierra Club v. State Water Control Board

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20137
Nos. 17-2406, (4th Cir., 08/01/2018)

The Fourth Circuit denied environmental groups' petition to review Virginia's issuance of §401 certification under the CWA for construction of a natural gas pipeline. The groups argued that state agencies acted arbitrarily and capriciously in issuing the §401 certificate because the agencies didn't have a sufficient basis to find reasonable assurance that the types of measures, restrictions, and programs in place to prevent excess sediment from entering state waters would be effective to satisfy the requirements of Virginia's antidegredation policy. But the court found that the agencies participated at every stage of the decisionmaking process, and did not issue their final §401 certificate until they had added all of the protections that they concluded were needed to give them reasonable assurance that state water quality would be protected. The court therefore denied the groups' petition to review.