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Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. Sunoco Pipeline L.P.

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20103
Nos. 18-2447, (E.D. Penn., 04/16/2020) (Diamond, J.)

A district court dismissed a challenge to a pipeline company's failure to seek a CWA permit for construction of a natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania. A conservation group argued the company violated the CWA by failing to obtain an NPDES permit for its stormwater discharges after construction began on the pipeline, despite the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection having decided prior to construction that the company need not obtain a permit. The court found that holding the company liable for failing to obtain a permit after the Department determined the pipeline was exempt would "offend the basic principles of fairness" and "effect an absurd result," and that the real object of the group's dispute was the Department, not the pipeline company. It therefore granted the company's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the suit.