Dear Friend,
Today, the day after Earth Day, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the extreme views of polluters in its decision in County of Maui v. Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund
The Supreme Court ruled in the Maui case that the Clean Water Act does, indeed, control pollution through groundwater that is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge." The Court explained that the Trump administration theory that pollution is unregulated by the Clean Water Act if it goes through any groundwater at all would “create a large and obvious loophole” in Clean Water Act protection.
The Maui decision has huge implications for Minnesota and proposed sulfide mines! 
WaterLegacy and the Fond du Lac Band have a case pending right now in the Minnesota Supreme Court appealing a decision that left pollution seeping from the U.S. Steel Minntac tailings basin through groundwater to wild rice beds unregulated. 
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) took the extreme position that any pollution that touches groundwater before it reaches  wetlands and wild rice beds isn’t regulated under Clean Water Act. The Maui case means that MPCA position is wrong under the Clean Water Act (as WaterLegacy and the Band have argued). 
WaterLegacy believes that toxic tailings basin seepage into immediately adjacent wetlands, streams and wild rice beds through shallow groundwater is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge.” 
We will argue in both the Minntac case (Minnesota Supreme Court) and PolyMet sulfide mine case (Minnesota Court of Appeals) that permits creating loopholes for mining pollution must be reversed under the Clean Water Act.
Thanks to lead lawyers, EarthJustice, and to everyone in Minnesota who is standing up for clean water.
Paula Maccabee
WaterLegacy’s Advocacy Director and Counsel


P.O. Box 3276  | Duluth, Minnesota 55803

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