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Lighthouse Resources Inc. v. Inslee

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20049
Nos. 3:18-cv-05005-RJB, (W.D. Wash., 04/01/2019) (Bryan. J.)

A district court granted Washington's and environmental groups' motion for summary judgment in a challenge to the state's decision to deny a coal company a CWA §401 certification for construction of a coal export facility along the Columbia River. A railroad company, which planned to provide rail service to the proposed facility, argued that the state violated the foreign affairs doctrine when it rejected the coal company's application for a §401 water quality certificate because the rejection was both conflict- and field-preempted. But the court found that the company failed to point to an express executive policy that was in conflict with the state's rejection, and that it failed to point to material issues of fact as to whether the state's real purpose did not concern an area of traditional state responsibility or its decision intruded on the federal government's foreign affairs power. It therefore granted the state's and groups' motion for summary judgment.