The U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in which it ruled that water flowing from an improved portion of a navigable waterway to an unimproved portion of the same waterway does not qualify as a discharge of pollutant under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). This case stemmed from a citizen suit filed by the National Resources Defense Council and the Santa Monica Baykeepers against the Los Angeles County Flood Control District in which it alleged that the L.A. District violated water quality standards under the CWA.
In an interesting analogy, the Court argued that if one dipped a ladle in soup and pulled it out temporarily then placed the full ladle back in the soup that it would not be adding any more to the soup. This case has implications for waters that cross jurisdictional boundaries. We will continue to monitor the developments surrounding this case and will have further analysis later this month.
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