U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton has lifted a stay on a federal lawsuit against Clark County regarding their stormwater management plan. The injunction was issued against Clark County in December 2011, ordering it to follow the state’s default stormwater rules while its stormwater plan was under review by the state Court of Appeals. The stay had been put in place pending the outcome of state court appeals of proceedings before the Pollution Control Hearings Board due to concerns the federal and state cases would conflict.
From Leighton’s decision:
“The case involves Clark County’s municipal storm sewer system, and the Department of Ecology’s 2007 Phase I Stormwater General Permit for that system. Ecology subsequently issued Clark County a Notice of Violation, alleging that the flow control policy was inadequate.
In 2010, Clark County and Ecology entered into an Agreed Order. Rosemere successfully challenged that Agreed Order before the PCHB, claiming (among other things) that it was not compliant with the Clean Water Act. The PCHB’s determination that the Agreed Order violated the Phase I permit and the Clean Water Act was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
While those proceedings were pending, Rosemere brought this federal case. It seeks to enforce the Phase I permit, and penalties. This Court stayed the proceedings pending the resolution of the state court action.”
In September, the Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the state Pollution Control Hearings Board, which said a compromise developed between the county and the state Department of Ecology was not backed by science and was insufficient under federal and state clean water laws.
Judge Leighton lifted the stay saying,
“The issues in these cases were never overlapping; they were simply similar. That similarity has been greatly diminished in the aftermath of the Court of Appeals’ decision, and the limitation of the issues the County seeks to litigate further in state court.”
To read the full decision: Judge Leighton Order Lifting Stay 2-21-13
From The Oregonian: Clark County could face tens of thousands of dollars in stormwater fines