County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund
County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (U.S. Supreme Court, April 23, 2020): The Supreme Court answered a long-standing question of whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) applies to pollutant discharges that enter navigable waters through groundwater, holding that the CWA applies to discharges that are the functional equivalent of a direct discharge. An environmental group challenged the operation of a wastewater facility in Maui which operated without securing certain permits required by the CWA. The County argued that permits were not required because the facility discharges did not go directly into the ocean. The Hawaii Wildlife Fund alleged that the discharges made their way to the ocean through underground water. The 9th Circuit held that the CWA applied and that the facility was required to secure permits. The Supreme Court agreed, but remanded the case for reconsideration consistent with the “functional equivalent” standard established in the majority opinion. Read the decision here.
View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – May 1, 2020.