Description: Lawsuit alleging that EPA violated the Clean Water Act by failing to issue a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for temperature pollution in the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Oregon and Washington.
Columbia Riverkeeper v. Pruitt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/30/2017 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Summary judgment motion filed by plaintiffs. 02/23/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Filed Seeking Temperature TMDL for Rivers in Pacific Northwest. Environmental and conservation groups and a trade association for commercial fishermen filed a lawsuit in the federal district court the Western District of Washington seeking a declaratory judgment that EPA violated the Clean Water Act by failing to issue a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for temperature pollution in the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Oregon and Washington. The plaintiffs also asked the court to order EPA to promptly prepare a temperature TMDL. The complaint alleged that multiple segments of the rivers were on Oregon’s and Washington’s Section 303(d) lists of impaired waters because they failed to meet temperature water quality criteria intended to protect salmon and steelhead spawning, rearing, and migration. The complaint also alleged that the high water temperatures—for which dams were largely responsible—were expected to worsen due to continuing climate change. The complaint asserted that EPA had agreed to issued a temperature TMDL in a 2000 agreement with Oregon and Washington but had subsequently failed to issue a final TMDL. The plaintiffs alleged that the states had “clearly and unambiguously expressed their intent not to prepare or submit” TMDLs, thereby triggering EPA’s duty to issue the TMDL. The plaintiffs also said that failure to issue the temperature TMDL constituted unreasonable delay under the Administrative Procedure Act.