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Monday, December 03, 2012

Courts - SCOTUS to hear cases on water runoff this week

"High Court to decide how logging roads regulated " is the headline to this long AP story by Jeff Barnard that begins:

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to switch gears on more than 30 years of regulating the muddy water running off logging roads into rivers.

At issue: Should the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency keep considering it the same as water running off a farm field, or start looking at it like a pipe coming out of a factory?

The case being heard Monday in Washington, D.C., was originated by a small environmental group in Portland, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center.

It sued the Oregon Department of Forestry over roads on the Tillamook State Forest that drain into salmon streams. The lawsuit argued that the Clean Water Act specifically says water running through the kinds of ditches and culverts built to handle storm water runoff from logging roads is a point source of pollution when it flows directly into a river, and requires the same sort of permit that a factory needs.

"Supreme Court wading into L.A. County storm water case: The Supreme Court may use an L.A. case to decide for the first time who can be held responsible for storm water runoff pollution" is the headline to this story yesterday by David G. Savage of the LA Times. It begins:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will hear a case from Los Angeles on Tuesday to decide for the first time who can be held responsible for polluted storm water that runs off city streets and into rivers and bays.

The case arises from a long-running dispute between Southern California environmental groups and the Los Angeles County Flood Control District over the billions of gallons of polluted water that flow into the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers after heavy rainfalls.

Congress expanded the Clean Water Act in 1987 to include storm water runoff, and since 1990 the sprawling Los Angeles district has operated under a permit.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the environmental group Los Angeles Waterkeeper sued the flood control district in 2008, contending it was violating its permit. The district's monitoring stations in the two rivers regularly showed unacceptably high levels of pollutants flowing in the rivers and into the ocean, the suit said.

Here are the Monday, Dec. 3 consolidated cases, with links to SCOTUSblog.Here is Tuesday's case:

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 3, 2012 09:38 AM
Posted to Courts in general | Environment