On June 28, 2021, the Seventh Circuit affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of claims alleging illegal groundwater discharges under the Clean Water Act’s (CWA). The appeals court held that the plaintiff, a nonprofit organization with more than 1,000 members, failed to show that it or any of its members had standing to sue. As WLF contended in its amicus brief, construing the CWA to require a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the groundwater releases here would displace Congress’s regulation of such releases under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the EPA’s Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) Rule, both of which govern groundwater releases of coal ash. It would also undermine comprehensive state regulation of groundwater, leading to the kind of broad expansion of NPDES jurisdiction that the Supreme Court, in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, recently rejected. WLF’s amicus brief was prepared with the pro bono assistance of Bill Brownell, Elbert Lin, Nash Long, Brent Rosser, and Melissa Romanzo with Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.


WLF brief