Conservation Groups Petitioned U.S. Supreme Court for Certiorari in Key Water Quality Case

California Trout and Trout Unlimited today petitioned to U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari in Hoopa Valley Tribe v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 913 F.3d 1099 (D.C. Cir. 2019).  Water and Power Law Group is co-counsel for petitioners, who were defendant-intervenors in the case below.  The petition is available here.

The D.C. Circuit held that the States of California and Oregon had waived their authority under Clean Water Act section 401(a) to determine whether the relicensing of PacifiCorp’s Klamath Hydroelectric Project would comply with water quality standards.  It concluded that the statute prescribes one year from application to final decision.  The conservation groups appealed on the ground that the statute –which is the states’ primary authority to condition federal licenses and permits to protect water quality – allows more time when an applicant withdraws the application, or a state denies an application without prejudice to refile.  Since 1971 this has been common practice across the nation whenever a state needs to complete the record for review of a complex project like hydropower, natural gas pipeline, or wetland dredging.