Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Supreme Court Won't Hear NPDES Permit Case

May 13: The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to hear the case Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement Dist. v. U.S. EPA, Case No. 12-797, appealed from the First Circuit decision supporting a U.S. EPA decision regarding certain effluent limitations imposed by EPA in a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and a model the EPA incorporated into its analysis of the nitrogen-fueled cultural eutrophication [See WIMS 8/6/12].
    In the case, the Appeals Court ruled, "Where the agency follows the proper procedures and acts with a reasonable basis, both its choice of scientific data and interpretation and application of that data to real world conditions are entitled to deference. . . Where the EPA did rely on the MERL model, the record reflects that it fully accounted for the model's shortcomings. . . The District's argument that the MERL model should have been excluded from consideration entirely is without merit. . . The EPA also followed the proper procedures for ensuring that the model received scrutiny not only from the permittee, but from the scientific community and the public. . . The EPA's determination, based on its analysis of the evidence before it as a whole, that a nitrogen limit of 5.0 mg/L was necessary to achieve Rhode Island's water quality standards was not a 'hunch[] or wild guess[]' but a rational exercise of judgment."
    Access the Supreme Court Order (click here). Access the Supreme Court docket (click here). Access the complete First Circuit opinion (click here). [#Water, #CA1, #SupCt]
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