TOLEDO, Ohio (Legal Newsline) – Two environmental organizations are seeking a court order to declare the U.S. Environment Protection Agency's 2019 Integrated Report Approval was not in accordance with the Clean Water Act regarding western Lake Erie.
Environmental Law & Policy Center and Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie filed a complaint on Feb. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al. citing the Clean Water Act.
According to the complaint, Environmental Law & Policy Center and Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie members own real and/or personal property in and around western Lake Erie "under Ohio’s jurisdiction that is adversely affected by algae blooms and other phosphorus-related pollution."
The plaintiffs allege the U.S. EPA unlawfully approved Ohio's 2018 impaired waters list and the state's decision to "indefinitely defer" a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for western Lake Erie for agricultural runoff pollution.
"Ohio EPA failed to reasonably follow its own process for deferring a TMDL for western Lake Erie while pursuing an alternative approach, and thus had no valid basis for ranking western Lake Erie a low priority for a TMDL. U.S. EPA therefore acted arbitrarily, capriciously and not in accordance with law when it approved Ohio’s categorization and priority ranking for western Lake Erie," the suit states.
The plaintiffs hold U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al. responsible because the defendants allegedly reviewed and approved the Ohio EPA's listing and priority ranking decisions without a reasonable basis.
The plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment, award of attorney's fees, costs and such other relief as the court deems just and proper. They are represented by Madeline Fleisher and Alda Yuan of Environmental Law & Policy Center in Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio case number 3:19-cv-00295-JGC