Ecological Rights Foundation v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (9th Cir., Filed April 3, 2013)
Last week the Ninth Circuit held that utility poles are not “point sources” of stormwater discharge nor “associated with industrial activity,” and therefore do not require an NPDES permit to comply with the Clean Water Act.
Plaintiff environmental group brought a suit alleging that the defendant utility companies treated their utility poles with a wood preservative containing a biocide and other chemicals. Plaintiff further alleged that the utility poles discharge the wood preservative into the environment in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The Ninth Circuit rejected both claims in an unanimous decision.