Thursday, April 1, 2010

Peconic Baykeeper, Inc. v. Suffolk County

Mar 30: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, Case No. 09-0097. Defendants Suffolk County and the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Division of Vector Control (County) employ various measures to combat the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, including the use of pesticides intended to kill adult mosquitoes in mid-flight. Plaintiffs Peconic Baykeeper, Inc., Kevin McAllister and Alfred Chiofolo contend that the County violated the Clean Water Act (CWA), in its application of certain pesticides, and, separately, its dredging of mosquito ditches. Plaintiffs, who commenced this action under the CWA's citizen-suit provision, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as civil penalties to be paid to the United States Treasury. Following a six-day bench trial, the district court found that the disputed mosquito-control activities were lawful under the CWA. Judgment was entered for the defendants, and plaintiffs appealed.
    The Appeals Court made a three-part ruling and vacated the judgment of the district court insofar as it held that the defendants' spraying activities were uniformly in compliance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), 7 U.S.C. § 136, et seq.; and vacated insofar as it held, in the alternative, that the trucks and helicopters used to spray the pesticides were not "point sources" for the purposes of the CWA; and, affirmed insofar as it held that the County's dredging activities did not violate the CWA.
    Access the complete opinion (click here).