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Friends of the Everglades v. South Florida Water Management District

570 F.3d 1210 (2009)

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Friends of the Everglades v. South Florida Water Management District

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

570 F.3d 1210 (2009)

Facts

Historically, Lake Okeechobee’s southern shore overflowed during the rainy season. In the 1930s a dike was built to control the flooding, but it failed during hurricanes. Congress authorized a project to expand the dike and build pump stations. The Army Corps of Engineers dug canals to collect rainwater and runoff from surrounding areas that contained multiple contaminants and pumped it into Lake Okeechobee. The pumps did not add anything to the water but simply moved it through the pipes. The Friends of the Everglades and the Fishermen Against the Destruction of the Environment (plaintiffs) sued to require the South Florida Water District (water district) (defendant) to obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to pump polluted canal water into the lake. The district court concluded that the pumping violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) and granted an injunction that required the water district to apply for an NPDES permit. All the parties except the water district cross-appealed. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted a regulation specifically addressing the issue.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Carnes, J.)

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