Supreme Court Case Could Reshape A Significant Environmental Law

Environment: NPR


The US Supreme Court. Today here's a case that could reshape one of the country's most significant environmental laws it centers on a dispute over wastewater and coral coral reefs. Hawaii public radio's Ryan Finnerty reports on Maui. The local government has been injecting treated wastewater underground for decades it was viewed as safer and cheaper cheaper than discharging wastewater into the ocean. which would require a permit under the clean water act? That's because the nineteen seventy two act. Regulates the discharge of pollutants into surface purpose waters like Oceans Lakes rivers but it does not cover pollution of groundwater but in two thousand six. The Hawaii Department of land and natural resources found that coral reefs off the coast of West. Maui were dying. At a rapid rate community members suspected injection wells at the local wastewater treatment plant were to blame. Hannah Bernard is a Marine biologist and director of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case we started organizing meetings and sharing that information and talking about it and then when we got in touch with EPA the Environmental Protection Agency eventually commission to study to find out if there was a physical link between the injection wells and the ocean university. The University of Hawaii geologist Craig Glenn Used Colored Dye to track where wastewater from the injection wells was going. He says the results were conclusive debatable evidenced instead the wastewater was reaching from those wells to the coastline Hindenburg. Yard and other environmentalists sued saying that since the discharge was reaching the ocean. The county was violating the clean water. Act They won twice in federal court but in a similar case from Kentucky. Different appeals court disagreed. The trump administration Chretien is backing Maui county in this case a reversal from the Obama era. EPA It's part of a broader effort to limit federal water protections in favor of state control. David even hank in an attorney representing the Mao plaintiff says the trump administration's stance on groundwater pollution is a departure from longstanding policy. Really it's every administration nations since the enactment of the Clean Water Act versus the trump administration environmentalists say discharging pollution into groundwater is exploiting a loophole. And not what Congress originally originally intended but if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Maui county that loophole could become law

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