Federal Water Tap, March 14, Part II: Lawsuits and Settlements

Atlanta vs. Alabama and Florida
A court case over the fate of Atlanta’s water supply seems to be heading for a ruling in the city’s favor, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. During arguments Wednesday in Atlanta, a three-judge panel for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that they would overturn a lower court’s decision to restrict municipal water use from Lake Lanier. Judges from the 11th Circuit did not issue a ruling last week, but they did suggest that they will leave it up to the Army Corps of Engineers to determine water releases from the lake.

Red River Rivalry
In arguments Tuesday before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, lawyers representing Irving, Texas and the Tarrant Regional Water District asserted that Oklahoma’s refusal to sell water to entities in Texas violates the commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs have an agreement to buy water from the city of Hugo, Okla., but the Oklahoma legislature has banned out-of-state water sales. Judges hearing the case did not say when they would issue a ruling.

Coal Case
The Department of Justice has lodged a proposed consent decree against Arch Coal for violations of the Clean Water Act. Under the decree, Arch Coal will pay a civil penalty of $4 million for violating pollution limits since 2004 for selenium, manganese, iron, aluminum and total suspended solids. The pollutants were discharged from mining operations into tributaries of the Ohio River in West Virginia and Kentucky. The decree also includes provisions for annual environmental audits, inspections, treatment systems and employee training.

Federal Water Tap is a weekly digest spotting trends in U.S. government water policy. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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