Supreme Court hears arguments on Clean Water Act
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Supreme Court hears arguments on Clean Water Act

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases Wednesday.

The first case heard Wednesday was County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The central issue in the case is “[w]hether the Clean Water Act requires a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater.” The petitioner argued that permits are only required in cases where the point sources themselves are “delivering pollutants to navigable waters,” and therefore there should be no permit requirement when pollutants from point sources move into the navigable waters by a nonpoint source. The respondent argued that the Clean Water Act does not require that the pollutants be delivered “directly from a point source to navigable waters” and that a permit is required when the pollutant is from the point source.

The other case that the Supreme Court heard on Wednesday is Retirement Plans Committee of IBM v. Jander. The central question in the case is whether a “‘more harm than good’ pleading standard can be satisfied by generalized allegations that the harm of an inevitable disclosure of an alleged fraud generally increases over time.” The petitioner argued that the generalized allegations were insufficient because they “could be made in every case.” The respondent argued that “ESOP fiduciaries owed the same duty of prudence as every other ERISA fiduciary, except they don’t need to diversify the fund’s assets.”