SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The Environmental Protection Agency cannot discard technology-based criteria in trying to keep water clean, the Ninth Circuit ruled. It partially reversed a judgment against environmental groups in a citizen lawsuit challenging the EPA’s method of complying with the Clean Water Act.
A technology-based approach to water quality focuses on reducing pollutants given the current technology, while the EPA’s preferred hazard-based approach tries to identify and reduce known contaminants. Our Children’s Earth and Ecological Rights Foundation claimed the EPA abandoned the technology-based reviews, failed to identify new polluting sources, and failed to publish timely plans for future reviews.
The circuit concluded that the EPA may decide when to revise effluent guidelines, but it does not have the discretion to ignore technology-based criteria. See ruling in Our Children’s Earth Foundation v. EPA.