Having already looked briefly at the topic of enforcement of the Clean Water Act in our last post, we would like to briefly discuss the issue of how private citizens and organizations may become involved in enforcement of the law.
The federal Clean Water Act is an important law which establishes the standards that must be followed in discharging pollutants into bodies of water, as well as the standards regulating surface water quality. The federal agency charged with enforcing the Clean Water Act is the Environmental Protection Agency, and the agency has put into place various pollution control programs and established water quality standards for surface water contaminants.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, the EPA has the authority to publish regulations which reflect the statute's goals of reinstating and maintaining the integrity of waters. This includes not only preventing pollution, but also ensuring that public facilities don't go unchecked in disturbing the biological integrity of waters.
Toxic tort litigation, as readers may know, can involve a variety of types of injury. Some claims in toxic tort litigation stem from chemical exposure to dangerous pharmaceutical drugs or medical devices. Others involve exposure to toxins in the workplace.
Earlier this week, the state Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving the question of how large salt water marsh buffers must be under state law, and whether they are even required at all. What gave rise to the legal tangle is a Grady County fishing lake project. We’ve previously written about this issue, which involves a state law prescribing a 25-foot buffer zone around certain types of waters statewide. Salt water marshes had, until recently, been required to have such buffers, but the Georgia Environmental Protection Division removed the requirement earlier this year.