Maui County Hawaii, wastewater treatment facilities at issue in Supreme Court litigation. Warren Gretz NREL

UPDATE: On April 23, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that point source discharges that pass through groundwater before reaching navigable waters can be regulated under the Clean Water Act, rejecting the tests proposed by EPA and by the County of Maui.  Read article from Washington Post on this decision.


July 19, 2019 – The Clinic filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court urging the Court to affirm the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding the County of Maui liable under the Clean Water Act for point source discharges conveyed to navigable water through groundwater. The Clinic argued that the 9th Circuit’s decision was consistent with decades-long NPDES permitting practices that applied the Clean Water Act in this manner, and that reversing that decision would lead to inconsistencies in legal protections for surface waters.  The brief was filed on behalf of former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials Judith Enck, J. Charles Fox, Susan Hedman, Kenneth Kopocis, Dennis McLerran, H. Curtis Spalding, and Nancy Stoner.

The brief is available here: County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, et al. (U.S. 18-260)

Deputy Director Shaun Goho wrote the brief with assistance from Frank Sturges (JD ’20) and James Pollack (JD ’20).