Description: Challenge to EPA’s oversight of water quality management on Cape Cod.
Conservation Law Foundation v. McCarthy
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 11/17/2014 Settlement Agreement Download Settlement agreement filed providing for eventual dismissal of action after certain activities were completed. 01/28/2014 Order Download Order issued staying case. In January 2014, the court ordered that the case be stayed until June 1, 2015 while work proceeds on the update; the stay is contingent on plaintiffs’ ongoing satisfaction with adherence to representations made in the September 2013 plan of action. The court also required the parties to report by March 31, 2014 as to whether they had decided to settle the case. 09/27/2013 Not Available Download Report regarding future proceedings filed by EPA. In September 2013, EPA submitted a proposed plan of action to the court, asking that the action be stayed since the Cape Cod Commission had initiated the preparation of an update to the areawide plan, which, EPA said, was essentially the relief sought by plaintiffs. EPA’s proposed plan indicates that the work plan for the update includes consideration of climate change, sea level rise, and storm surge. 08/23/2013 Memorandum Download Memorandum and order issued. In August 2013, the federal district court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed three of plaintiffs’ four claims, but declined to dismiss plaintiffs’ claim that EPA’s annual reviews of Massachusetts’s use of its State Revolving Fund (SRF) monies—which fund certain types of waste water management projects—were arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to Clean Water Act. Plaintiffs alleged that because Massachusetts had not updated its areawide waste treatment management plan for Cape Cod since 1978 and had therefore not evaluated the impact of climate change on water quality conditions in connection with the state’s water quality management planning, EPA could not lawfully approve the state’s use of SRF funds, which must be consistent with the areawide plan. 09/10/2012 Complaint Download Amended complaint filed. 09/19/2011 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Plaintiffs commenced this lawsuit in 2011 (amended complaint filed in 2012) to compel EPA to take steps pursuant to its authorities under the Clean Water Act to address the increasing nitrogen pollution in the embayments of Cape Cod. Plaintiffs’ allegations include that climate change will cause additional strain to coastal ecosystems that has not been considered in water quality management planning.