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Idaho Mining Association v. Browner
United States District Court for the District of Idaho
90 F. Supp. 2d 1078 (2000)
The State of Idaho submitted water-quality standards to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for review, as required under the Clean Water Act (CWA). As part of the water-quality standards, states were required designate a body of water for fishable/swimmable uses, or, if a state designated the body of water for uses that required less protection than fishable/swimmable uses, it was required to conduct a use-attainability analysis that demonstrated that it was not feasible for the body of water to be used for fishing and swimming. If a state did not comply with the requirements of the CWA, the EPA was required to give the state 90 days to remedy. Almost two years after Idaho submitted its standards for review, the EPA issued an approval of Idaho’s water-quality standards, with some exceptions. The EPA disapproved of Idaho’s designation of certain bodies of water for uses less protective than fishable/swimmable without conducting use-attainability analyses, and it gave Idaho 90 days to remedy. Nearly a year later, after Idaho had taken no additional action, the EPA issued revised water-quality standards designating fishable/swimmable standards for the relevant bodies of water. The EPA explained that it was relying on a rebuttable presumption under the CWA that fishable/swimmable uses were attainable. The Idaho Mining Association (plaintiff) filed suit against EPA administrator Carol M. Browner and others (defendants) challenging the revised water-quality standards and seeking an injunction remanding the matter back to the EPA for a revised decision based on the CWA.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)
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