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PACE - Environmental Law Moot Court Competition

Donato Catrina, Rachel Choi, and Lauren Richards

White Plains, NY

Issues

Facts: 

Lake Chesaplain is a natural lake located within the State of New Union that is designated to be used as a drinking water source, a recreation area for swimming, and an area for fish propagation. New Union’s water quality standards classification of Lake Chesaplain reserved it for the highest quality of waters in the state. Lake Chesaplain became subject to rapid economic development, algae blooms caused a decline in fish productivity, property values, and tourism and rendered the Chesaplain State Park unsuitable for swimming. Excessive phosphorus loading causing algae blooms has been identified as the cause of the reduction in the water quality. 

 

In 2014, the New Union Division of Fisheries and Environmental Control (“DOFEC”) found the phosphorus levels in excess of the requisite water standard and listed Lake Chesaplain as impaired–as required by the CWA in 303(d). However, DOFEC failed to submit a

TMDL (“total maximum daily load”) and did not take action to do so until Chesaplain Lake Watch sent a letter threatening to sue if a TMDL was not created for Lake Chesaplain. CLW agreed to refrain from suing if New Union initiated a TMDL rulemaking. 

 

In 2017, DOFEC submitted a proposal to implement a TMDL through an equal phased

reduction in phosphorus discharges of point and nonpoint sources of pollution over five years.

This TMDL planned to reduce the 180 mt baseline of 2016 phosphorus loading by seven

percent each year for five years. In 2018, DOFEC adopted a TMDL that would have only limited phosphorus to a 120 mt annual maximum. After a notice and comment period, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) rejected the 2018 New Union TMDL and adopted DOFEC’s 2016 TMDL of the phased reduction over five years.

 

Issues:

1. Ripeness

Whether EPA’s determination to reject the New Union Chesaplain Watershed phosphorus TMDL and adopt its own TMDL and implementation plan for the Lake Chesaplain Watershed is ripe for judicial review.

  • EPA argues that it is not ripe
  • CLW and New Union argue that it is ripe

 

2. Definition of "total"

Whether EPA’s determination to reject the New Union Chesaplain Watershed phosphorus TMDL on the grounds that the TMDL failed to include wasteload allocations (non-point sources) and load allocations (point sources) is contrary to law, as an incorrect interpretation of the term total maximum daily load” in CWA § 303(d).

  • EPA and CLW argue that this interpretation is correct
  • New Union argues that it is not

 

3. Definition of "daily"

Whether EPA’s adoption of a TMDL for the Lake Chesaplain Watershed consisting of an annual pollution loading reduction to be phased in over five years violates the CWA § 303(d) requirements for a valid TMDL.

  • CLW argues EPA’s action violates CWA § 303(d)
  • EPA and New Union argue that it does not

 

4. Abuse of discretion

Whether EPA’s adoption of a credit for anticipated BMP pollution reductions to reduce the stringency of wasteload allocations for point sources for implementation of the Lake Chesaplain TMDL was arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion due to the lack of assurance of BMP implementation.

  • CLW argues that EPA’s BMP credit was arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion
  • EPA and New Union argue that it was not

 

Coaches

Katie Romero and Zachary Young

Scheduling Contact

Katie Romero (ktmromero@uchastings.edu)

Comments

Katie will send out the bench memo and zoom link before each practice.

Practices

Date and Time Location Judges
Thu. January 13th
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM CLOSED CLOSED [no more spots]
Fri. January 14th
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM CLOSED CLOSED [no more spots]
Sun. January 16th
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom - First Open Practice Brooke Quesinberry Jack Haisman Kara Flageollet Nick Matoian Megan Pham [no more spots]
Mon. January 17th
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom Brianna Callagy Nikayla Johnson (Until 5:30) Rizelle Dizon Angelica Lee Jordan Lee [no more spots]
Wed. January 19th
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom Julia Pilkington Zoe Gallagher Sean Ross Josie Chan Elliott Brooks [no more spots]
Thu. January 20th
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom Eman Ateyeh Eman Ateyeh Katrina Uyehara Angie Chang Megan Pham [no more spots]
Fri. January 21st
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Zoom Jack Haisman Eman Ateyeh Alysyn Martinez Nick Keats Kara Flageollet [no more spots]
Sun. January 23rd
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom Brooke Quesinberry Julia Thomas Mitchell Carlson Rizelle Dizon Zoe Tatarsky [no more spots]
Mon. January 24th
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom Dorit Reiss Angie Chang Alaura McGuire [2 more spots]
Wed. January 26th
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom Katrina Uyehara Sarah Case Taylor Boyle Anushka Silva Angie Chang [no more spots]
Thu. January 27th
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom Jack Haisman Isabella Granucci Maddie Thomas Sarah Case Brianna Callagy [no more spots]
Fri. January 28th
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Zoom Nikayla Johnson Catherine Cawley Rafi Bortnick [2 more spots]
Sun. January 30th
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom [5 more spots]
Mon. January 31st
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM CLOSED CLOSED [no more spots]
Wed. February 2nd
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom [5 more spots]
Thu. February 3rd
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom Eman Ateyeh [4 more spots]
Fri. February 4th
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Zoom Sarah Case [4 more spots]
Sun. February 6th
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom Kayla Sparks [4 more spots]
Mon. February 7th
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom Alexander Nicholson Zehra Jafri (Until 5) [3 more spots]
Wed. February 9th
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom Jake Zarone Christin Kim [3 more spots]
Fri. February 11th
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Zoom Anushka Silva [4 more spots]
Sun. February 13th
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom [5 more spots]
Mon. February 14th
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom Brianna Callagy [4 more spots]
Wed. February 16th
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom w/ Sub-Coach Julia Pilkington Rose Monahan Katrina Uyehara Katrina Uyehara [2 more spots]
Thu. February 17th
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Zoom Ananya Kara Flageollet [3 more spots]
Fri. February 18th
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Zoom Julia Pilkington [4 more spots]
Sun. February 20th
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom (Dress Rehearsal) Josie Chan Kenna Fung Ylan Nguyen Alaura McGuire Angie Chang [no more spots]
Mon. February 21st
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Zoom and in person (room TBD) Alaura McGuire Julia Pilkington [3 more spots]