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Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency, 399 F.3d 486, 491 (2nd Cir. 2005), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined whether the requisites of the NMPs constituted "effluent limitations," and hence, were required in the NPDES permit.

In Waterkeeper Alliance v. EPA, 399 F.3d at 491, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit stated, "regardless of the issuer, every NPDES permit was statutorily required to set forth, at the very least, "effluent limitations . . . ."

The plaintiffs--environmental organizations contended that the 2003 Rule was unlawful because (1) NPDES personnel were permitted to issue permits to Large CAFOs without an extensive evaluation of the NMPs, and (2) the NPDES permits did not include the NMPs' terms. Id. at 490.

The Second Circuit agreed with the plaintiffs, reasoning that the Clean Water Act described an effluent limitation as "'any restriction established by a State or the Administrator on quantities, rates, and concentrations of chemical, physical, biological, and other constituents which were discharged from point sources . . .,'" id. at 502., and thus, because "the requirement to develop a NMP constituted a restriction on land application discharges . . .," the requisites of the NMP should have been included in the permits. Id.