Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Hurst
One of two cases that challenged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ practice of granting routine general permits under the Clean Water Act for valley fills in West Virginia and Kentucky, even though those permits are only supposed to be used for activities that have “minimal” adverse environmental effects. In this case, the district judge granted summary judgment in 2004, was reversed on appeal, and granted summary judgment again on remand in 2009 and invalidated the permit. As a result of the West Virginia ruling, mining companies will have to apply for individual permits in West Virginia and the Corps will have to conduct a more rigorous environmental review of each project.
In the Kentucky case, Kentucky Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Midkiff, cross-motions for summary judgment have been pending since 2005 without a decision on the merits.