291 F.3d 1123
SYNOPSIS: Appellant landowners challenged the judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California which granted appellee Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) summary judgment in the landowners' action, filed pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C.S. §§ 702, 704, challenging the EPA's authority to impose total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) on the river under the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C.S. § 1313(d).
OVERVIEW: The EPA imposed TMDLs on a river that was polluted only by nonpoint sources of pollution. The landowners, who owned land in the river's watershed, applied for a harvesting permit, which was granted along with certain restrictions to comply with the EPA's TMDL. The landowners, along with others, sued the EPA, contending that it did not have the authority under § 303(d) of the CWA to impose TMDLs on rivers that were polluted only by nonpoint sources of pollution. The trial court granted the EPA summary judgment, upholding its interpretation of § 303(d). On appeal, the court affirmed.
The court held that the CWA was best read to include in the § 303(d) listing and TMDLs requirements waters impaired only by nonpoint sources of pollution, and therefore triggered the application of the statutory TMDL requirement to the river.
The court held that "stringent" as used in § 303(d) should be determined by looking forward to the broad goal to be attained not backwards at the inadequate effluent limitations.
CONCLUSION: The judgment granting the EPA summary judgment in the landowners' action challenging the EPA's authority to impose TMDLs on the river under the CWA was affirmed.
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