B&D Files Supreme Court Amicus Curiae Brief on Behalf of Wastewater Utilities

On May 16, 2019, B&D attorneys Richard Davis, Tim Sullivan, and Drew Silton filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), an organization representing the interests of public wastewater and stormwater utilities nationwide. The brief, filed in County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, No. 18-260, urges the Supreme Court to reverse a Ninth Circuit decision holding that the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for releases of pollutants from discrete sources that are subsequently conveyed to surface waters by nonpoint sources, like groundwater. The City of New York, the City and County of San Francisco, and the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District (serving metropolitan Denver) joined the brief.

The Maui case will require the Supreme Court to resolve a critical question regarding the scope of the CWA’s NPDES permitting requirement. The brief shows the Court how the Ninth Circuit failed to properly interpret the CWA, while also highlighting how affirming the decision below would pose significant difficulties for implementing the CWA’s permitting program. The brief further explains how the Ninth Circuit’s misapplication of the CWA will adversely impact and discourage the continued use of environmentally beneficial wastewater and stormwater management practices employed by NACWA’s members across the country.

The Court will hear argument in Maui sometime after its next Term begins in October 2019. You can find additional coverage of the brief here (subscription required).

Beveridge & Diamond’s Water practice group develops creative, strategically tailored solutions to challenges that arise under the nation’s clean water laws. The firm’s attorneys have represented clients in a range of industries in project planning as well as in litigation and enforcement proceedings on issues arising from the growing convergence of water supply, use, and quality issues. For more information, please contact the authors.