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Court Overrules U.S. EPA in Baltimore Runoff Case

Environmentalists challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and won.
March 29, 2019, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Becky Hammer writes on behalf of the National Resources Defense Council to report that earlier this month, "a federal district court in Maryland ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrongfully denied our petition to regulate harmful runoff pollution from commercial, industrial, and institutional sites in Baltimore’s Back River watershed."

"When EPA denied the petition in 2016, the agency refused to consider whether stormwater pollution from the sites is contributing to violations of water quality standards, as the Clean Water Act requires. Now a court has ruled that EPA’s decision was unlawful," adds Hammer.

The NRDC, along with American Rivers and Blue Water Baltimore, filed the petition in 2015, pushing the EPA to regulate runoff in the watershed under powers granted by the Clean Water Act.

Now the EPA must reconsider the petition, and could potentially decide to begin regulating pollution sources in the watershed, which drains Baltimore city and county. The river is already legally designated as "impaired" due to high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution.

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Published on Monday, March 25, 2019 in NRDC
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