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Columbia Riverkeeper v. Pruitt

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20179
Nos. C17-289RSM, (W.D. Wash., 10/17/2018) (Martinez, J.)

A district court ordered EPA to issue a temperature total maximum daily load (TMDL) under the CWA for the Columbia and Snake Rivers, which are native habitat for endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead populations. An environmental group argued that the Agency failed to issue a TMDL for the rivers within 30 days of Washington's and Oregon's "constructive submissions," in violation of the CWA. The court agreed, finding that the constructive submission doctrine applies when a state abandons an individual TMDL. Here, the states clearly and unambiguously indicated they would not produce a TMDL for the rivers, placing the ball in the Agency's court. The court therefore ordered the Agency to approve or disapprove the constructively submitted TMDL, and to issue a new TMDL 30 days after a disapproval.