The Ninth Circuit said an energy firm's non-stormwater discharges of coal into Resurrection Bay in Alaska are prohibited by an EPA multi-sector general permit (Alaska Community Action on Toxics v. Aurora Energy Services, 13-35709).
Here is the summary provided by the court:
The [9th Circuit] panel reversed the district court’s summary judgment entered in favor of Aurora Energy Services, LLC and Alaska Railroad Corporation in a citizen suit that challenged, pursuant to the Clean Water Act, defendants’ non-stormwater discharges of coal into Resurrection Bay, Alaska.
The panel held that the district court erred in concluding that the Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity - a general permit under the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System - shielded the defendants from liability under the Clean Water Act for their non-stormwater coal discharges. The panel remanded for further proceedings.
And here's a quote from the 11-page opinion:
The plain terms of the General Permit prohibit defendants’ non-stormwater discharge of coal. In Part 188.8.131.52, the General Permit states: “You must eliminate non-stormwater discharges not authorized by an NPDES permit. See Part 1.2.3 for a list of non-stormwater discharges authorized by this permit.” The referenced section (which is actually Part 1.1.3) lists eleven categories of non-stormwater discharge which are “the non-stormwater discharges authorized under this permit.” None of these categories cover defendants’ coal discharge.
Oral argument recording (from 9th Circuit website)