April 2020, Civil Beat, Gruber. WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Maui County can’t skirt the Clean Water Act by merely pumping its sewage into groundwater before discharging it into the ocean.
In a 6-3 opinion written by Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, the majority ruled that Maui County, like other municipalities and businesses dumping pollutants into the nation’s rivers, lakes and oceans, must have a permit to do so.
The ruling is both a rebuke of Maui County and the Trump administration, which had joined the county in arguing that the Clean Water Act should only cover waste that was discharged directly into navigable waters, and not pollutants that were first filtered through groundwater before reaching their final destination.
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