Lawsuit Challenges Federal Industrial Storm Water Permit Failure to Control U.S. Plastic Pollution

July 23, 2021

This impacts thousands of industrial facilities across the country.

On July 1, 2021, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Ninth Circuit to review EPA’s issuance of the 2021 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for storm water discharges from industrial activities. 

This impacts thousands of industrial facilities across the country, according to the Center’s press release.

The lawsuit alleges the federal permit’s failure to: protect the aquatic environment; public health; endangered and threatened species; and critical habitat from plastic and other forms of pollution discharged through industrial storm water.

According to the Center’s press release, the permit covers storm water discharges to U.S. waters from industrial facilities in 30 categories, including chemical and allied products manufacturing, rubber and miscellaneous plastic products, and more. The Center cites concern about plastic production, transport and use in industrial facilities resulting in the loss of trillions of plastic pellets to the environment every year.

Several hundred species are covered by the federal permit, added the Center’s press release.

“This permit lets industrial polluters keep releasing plastic and other pollutants into our waterways,” said Julie Teel Simmonds, an attorney in the Center’s Oceans program in the Center’s press release. “Rather that protecting wildlife and public health, the EPA just copied and pasted from its 2015 permit and ignored our recommendations. We’re suing to force federal officials to consider mounting evidence that plastics facilities harm essential habitats and frontline communities.”

The Center’s petition is pending with the Ninth Circuit and the Center’s brief is not currently due until late September, reported The National Law Review. 

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California.

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Cristina Tuser