May 10, 2019

County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund: A preview of the Supreme Court’s review of Clean Water Act jurisdiction over groundwater

Norman A. Dupont

“O Groundwater, groundwater, wherefore art thou Groundwater? . . . ‘Tis but thy name that is mine enemy.”

In its October 2019 Term, the U.S. Supreme Court will grapple with yet another seemingly intractable Clean Water Act (CWA) definitional question—whether the act covers pollutant discharges that go to groundwater and thence to a navigable water? In County of Maui, Hawai’i v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, No. 18-260 (Maui), the Court granted certiorari on one question: “Whether the CWA requires a [NPDES] permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater.”

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