(Editor Comment: Environmentalists would like to settle this case out of court fearing that a more conservative Supreme Court will weaken the Federal Clean Water Act.)
October 2019: Maui Now: Wendy Osher: Maui Mayor Michael Victorino says the County of Maui will not withdraw its appeal of the Lahaina injection well case from consideration by the US Supreme Court.
He is now seeking clarification from the high court saying, “I want Maui County taxpayers and ratepayers to have their day before the US Supreme Court and get clarity on this important question on the application of the Clean Water Act.”
“To allow this to go unanswered leaves us vulnerable to more lawsuits, to uncertain regulatory requirements and staggering costs – all for what would be a negligible environmental benefit. The legal exposure is immense, not only for the County but for private property owners as well. It goes far beyond injection wells. The Ninth Circuit’s decision means that many County facilities – including Parks, Public Works, Environmental Management are likely in violation of the federal law as it’s interpreted by this court. Penalties can be imposed of nearly $55,000 per day per source. The effect on private property values, and the associated property taxes which fund the majority of County operations, cannot be ignored.”
Attached is Mayor Victorino’s letter to Maui County residents and a Corporation Counsel opinion on settlement authority. Letters, memorandums and other documents connected with the case can be found online.
Four community groups, represented by Earthjustice (Sierra Club and the Surfrider Foundation, with support from Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund and West Maui Preservation Association) filed a complaint with in Hawai‘i Federal District Court in 2012, alleging that Maui County was in violation of the Clean Water Act for its injection well discharges of municipal wastewater into the Pacific Ocean just offshore of Kahekili Beach Park in West Maui.
The groups claim that pollutants from the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility are flowing to the ocean and harming coral reefs. Environmental groups who brought the lawsuit say they’re asking the County to fix nearshore deadzones and give Maui’s reefs a chance to recover.
The rest of the Maui Now article is here….