Environmental Law Enforcement

By bringing citizen enforcement actions, Smith & Lowney is able to assist our clients in directly enforcing state and federal environmental laws. We have developed an aggressive practice in this area. In the past decade, Smith & Lowney has brought the majority of Clean Water Act citizen suits in the state of Washington. We can often bring these cases at reduced cost to our clients because if we are successful in the litigation we can shift the costs to the defendant. 

The following are representative cases: 

Waste Action Project v. City of Sunnyside, U.S. Dist. Ct. for the E. Dist. of Wash. Clean Water Act citizen suit over municipal sewage treatment plan compliance with NPDES permit. The 2003 settlement required the city to upgrade its wastewater and storwmater facilities and investigate innovative sewage treatment methods. 

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. J.A. Jack & Sons, Inc., U.S. Dist. Ct. for the W. Dist. of Wash. Clean Water Act citizen suit over industrial facility’s compliance with NPDES permit. After the court granted psa’s summary judgment motion, a settlement was reached. The 2003 settlement required defendant to halt discharges of sand and gravel to the Duwamish river and to fund a habitat restoration project. 

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. City of Missoula, U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of Montana. PEER brought case based upon information provided by whistleblowers. Clean Water Act citizen suit alleging violations of NPDES permit, including manipulation of monitoring data. 2001 settlement reformed monitoring and reporting procedures and funded several water quality projects on the Clark Fork river. 

Waste Action Project v. Clark County, U.S. Dist. Ct. for the W. Dist. of Wash. Clean Water Act citizen suit against Clark County for illegal (unpermitted) municipal stormwater discharges. We won the case by obtaining summary judgment on the merits, 45 F.Supp.2d 1049 (W.D. Wash. 1999). Resulting settlement required county to submit to Clean Water Act regulation and a suite of improvements to its stormwater management program including adopting new ordinances and hiring additional staff. 

Gill v. LDI, U.S. Dist. Ct. for the W. Dist. of Wash. Clean Water Act citizen suit against illegal mining operation for violations of NPDES permit and nuisance claims. We won the case after obtaining summary judgment on the merits, 19 F.Supp. 2d 1188 (W.D. Wash. 1998). The mining operation was halted. 

Citizens Against Seatac Expansion, et al. v. Department of Ecology, et al. We represented CASE in successfully appealing the Clean Water Act permit for Sea-Tac airport, seeking to protect Puget Sound and area creeks from untreated aircraft and runway deicing products. Following an eight-day trial before the PCHB in July 2004, the board directed ecology to rewrite the permit to better protect water quality. 

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