In a significant win affirming the ongoing validity of long-issued permits, United States District Judge Sam A. Lindsay of the Northern District of Texas dismissed all of the claims brought by two groups challenging the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued to Georgia-Pacific LLC’s Crossett, Arkansas, paper mill. The Court’s opinion dismissing the case in full was issued January 19, 2016, and is available here.
The groups asserted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should have objected to the NPDES permit, which had been issued by the State of Arkansas more than four years before the case commenced. In rejecting their claims, the Court sided with Georgia-Pacific and EPA which both asserted that the groups did not have Constitutional standing to bring a claim.
The Court noted: “As correctly argued by Georgia-Pacific . . . EPA’s decision not to object was not the cause of Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries. . . . Plaintiffs have not provided the court with any authority under the Clean Water Act . . . authorizing EPA to object to a proposed Permit more than four years after the final permit has been issued and gone into effect.”