Blue Water Baltimore v. McCarthy

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ___________________________________ ) BLUE WATER BALTIMORE, et al. , ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) Civil Action No. 16-452 (RBW) v. ) ) ANDREW R. WHEELER, ) Administrator, United States ) Environmental Protection Agency, ) ) Defendant. ) ____________________________________) MEMORANDUM OPINION The plaintiffs, Blue Water Baltimore, Chester River Association, Gunpowder Riverkeeper, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, and Waterkeepers Chesapeake, bring this action under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701–706 (2018), against Andrew R. Wheeler, in his official capacity as the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), challenging the EPA’s approval of Maryland’s Final 2018 Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality (the “2018 Integrated Report”). See Third Amended Complaint (“3d Am. Compl.”) ¶¶ 1, 4–11, 16. Currently before the Court are the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment and Request for a Hearing (“Pls.’ Mot.”) and the EPA’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment (“Def.’s Mot.”). Upon careful consideration of the parties’ submissions, 1 the Court concludes for the following reasons that it must deny the 1 In addition to the filings already identified, the Court considered the following submissions in reaching its decision: (1) the Plaintiffs’ Statement of Points and Authorities in Support of Their Motion for Summary Judgment (“Pls.’ Mem.”); (2) the Plaintiffs’ Combined Response to EPA’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Reply to (continued . . .) plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and grant the defendant’s cross-motion for summary judgment. I. BACKGROUND A. Statutory Background: The Clean Water Act Congress enacted the Clean Water Act (the “Act”) “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” 33 U.S.C. § 1251(a) (2018). In order to achieve this objective, the Act, inter alia, requires each state to establish water quality standards for waters located within its jurisdiction and to submit those standards to the EPA for review and approval. See id. § 1313(a)–(c); see also Am. Paper Inst., Inc. v. EPA, 996 F.2d 346, 349 (D.C. Cir. 1993) (“Under the [Act], the water quality standards . . . are primarily the states’ handiwork.”). 2 Water quality standards must “consist of the designated uses of the [ ] waters involved and the water quality criteria for such waters based upon such uses” that specifies “the maximum concentration of pollutants that may be present in the water without impairing its suitability for designated uses.” 33 U.S.C. § 1313(c)(2)(A); see Am. Paper Inst., Inc., 996 F.2d at 349. (. . . continued) EPA’s Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment (“Pls.’ Opp’n”); and (3) the EPA’s Reply in Support of EPA’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (“Def.’s Reply”). 2 Between 2004 and 2005, Maryland “adopted EPA-developed uniform water quality standards and designated criteria[.]” 3d Am. Compl. ¶ 73; id.; Exhibit (“Ex.”) K (2006 List of Impaired Surface Waters [303(d) List] and Integrated Assessment of Water Quality in Maryland (“2006 Integrated Report”)) at 13–19; see also id.; Ex. H (Chesapeake Bay ...

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