Citizen Suits Under the U.S. Clean Water Act

Wednesday, November 06, 2002
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld the right of citizens to bring suit for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act, also known as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). In the instant case, plaintiff environmental advocacy group brought suit against the owner of an oil refinery for alleged discharges of petroleum coke into U.S waters, after notifying the owner of the alleged violations. The defendant contended that the notification letter was deficient because the letter failed to identify the specific dates of the alleged violations and because it had sold the refinery to a third party between the time it received the notification letter and the time suit was brought. The court held that the notification need only provide enough information that the defendant can identify and correct the problem. The court also held that a defendant can not escape liability for past violations by selling the polluting facility. Source: HK Law

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