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Kentucky Waterways Alliance v. Kentucky Utilities Company

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20167
Nos. 18-5115, (6th Cir., 09/24/2018)

The Sixth Circuit held that seepage from a coal-fired power plant that reached a nearby lake violated RCRA, but not the CWA. Environmental groups argued that the chemicals being stored in coal ash ponds contaminated the surrounding groundwater, which in turn contaminated a nearby lake, in violation of the CWA and RCRA. The district court dismissed both claims, concluding that the CWA did not cover pollution of this sort and that the groups lacked standing to bring their RCRA claim. The appellate court concluded that the CWA does not extend liability to pollution that reaches surface waters via groundwater, but that RCRA does. The court therefore affirmed the district court's dismissal of the groups' CWA claim, but reversed it as to their RCRA claim.