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Functional Equivalency? Assessing Groundwater Discharges Under County of Maui

April 2021

Citation: 51 ELR 10289

Issue: 4

Author: Steven L. Hoch, Philip T. Tringale, Dorinda Shipman, and Elizabeth Kimbrel

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund on April 23, 2020. Until then, there was a split among the circuit courts as to whether discharges to navigable waters through groundwater are regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The impact of this issue could be widespread, possibly bringing many more water-related projects into the CWA process. As a result of the Court’s decision, the issue may require additional time to proceed through the regulatory process. It could also set the stage for additional litigation over the environmental impact of a facility and thus delay construction and increase the cost.

Steven L. Hoch is an attorney in the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources practice in the Los Angeles office of Clark Hill. Philip T. Tringale, Ph.D., PE, is Chair of the Board of Directors at Langan Engineering & Environmental Services (Langan). Dorinda Shipman, PG, CHG, is a principal at Langan. Elizabeth Kimbrel, PE, is a senior project engineer at Langan.

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