WEST PALM BEACH (CN) – The U.S. EPA illegally created a new exemption to Clean Water Act permitting requirements to let companies send pollution from one body of water to another, the Rivers Coalition Defense Fund claims in Federal Court. And it says the EPA did so after losing, and appealing, an identical case in Federal Court.
The complaint cites the “Water Transfers Exemption (Final) Rule” published in the Federal Register on June 13 (73 Fed. Reg. 33697).
The EPA published its Final Rule while appealing to the 11th Circuit an identical case that declared the EPA’s Water Transfers Exemption Rule invalid, the complaint states (11th Circuit Case No. 07-13829).
In that case, Friends of the Everglades v. South Florida Water Management District, a federal judge in Miami ruled, “the statute is unambiguous. No agency interpretation, or court order for that matter, can alter the unambiguous congressional intent expressed in a stature and the court thus rejects the interpretation proposed by the EPA. … Accordingly, water transfers between distinct water bodies that result in the addition of a pollutant to the receiving navigable water body are subject to the NPDES permitting program.”
Plaintiffs want the rule vacated. They are represented by David Guest and Monica Reimer with Earthjustice in Tallahassee.