Students’ efforts strike down EPA’s “Water Transfers Rule”

Law students active in the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic scored a major victory in federal court when the Hon. Kenneth Karas, S.D.N.Y., granted a summary judgment in a case where the P.E.L.C. served as lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

The judgment in the case, Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. U.S. EPA, invalidated the EPA’s “Water Transfers Rule” that exempted transfers of polluted water from one waterbody into another waterbody from the statutory requirement that all point source pollutant discharges into waters of the United States be made in accordance with the requirements of a Clean Water Act discharge permit.

The provision, which was put in place in 2008, allowed companies, municipalities, and others to move salt water into fresh water or sediment-laden water into drinking water in violation of the provisions of the Clean Water Act.

Pace Law students briefed and argued the case from the very beginning including 3Ls Edward Teyber and Conor Walline who addressed the court on behalf of the client at the four-hour oral argument this past December.

“These students have their first reported federal judicial decision—which happens to be a very big win against DOJ—before they even graduate from law school,” commented Professor Dan Estrin.

Professor Estrin and Professor Karl Coplan serve as supervising attorneys for the Pace Litigation Clinic.

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