Legal Actions

Did you know that under the Clean Water Act citizens have the right to file lawsuits against polluters? That’s right. Our Waterkeepers represent the residents of their watersheds to bring lawsuits against polluters when government agencies fail to do their jobs. Waterkeepers also bring legal challenges against governmental agencies when they fail to enforce the law. This is one important reason why you should report polluters to your local Waterkeepers so they can take action on your behalf. Waterkeepers Chesapeake takes legal action on behalf of our members, especially on issues that have regional or national impacts such as the relicensing of Conowingo Dam, construction of fracked gas pipelines, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Latest Posts

Waterkeeper Groups Petition for Rehearing on Conowingo Dam Federal License

License issued by FERC is illegal under the Clean Water Act (Takoma Park, MD) Today, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, and Sassafras Riverkeeper, represented by Earthjustice and joined by Chesapeake Bay Foundation, filed a petition for a rehearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) on its approval of the 50-year relicensing of the Conowingo … Read more

Lawsuit Launched to Overturn Denial of Endangered Species Protection for Eastern Hellbenders

North America’s Largest Salamander Threatened by River Pollution From New York to Missouri NEW YORK— Conservation groups filed a formal notice of intent today to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision in April 2019 to deny Endangered Species Act protection to eastern hellbenders. These river-dwelling salamanders can grow longer than 2 … Read more


Lawsuit Challenges New NEPA Regulations that Shield CAFOs from Environmental Review

Extreme changes to the regulations have widespread consequences for animals, surrounding communities, and the environment. Contact: Mike Andrade-Heymsfield,, 707-364-8387 Betsy Nicholas,, 202-423-0504 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today a coalition of rural advocacy, environmental, and animal protection organizations, led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, filed a lawsuit against the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) … Read more

Opening Briefs Filed in EPA Lawsuit on Slaughterhouse Regulations

Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice on August 3 filed the opening brief in our challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s final agency decision not to revise the effluent limitation guidelines for slaughterhouses and associated effluent limitations and not to publish pretreatment standards to control pollution discharges into the nation’s waters under the … Read more

Press Statement: Waterkeeper Groups Achieve Settlement with EPA on Drinking Water Safety

Agreement sets deadlines for Safe Drinking Water Act actions on toxic and carcinogenic contaminants NEW YORK, NY — Waterkeeper Alliance, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, and California Coastkeeper Alliance today filed a settlement agreement in federal court with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requiring EPA to propose revised regulations for existing and emerging contaminants. The case can be … Read more

Court Allows Slaughterhouse Pollution Lawsuit to Move Forward

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled on Wednesday that a lawsuit can proceed challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to update national standards to control water pollution from slaughterhouses. Wednesday’s decision, in a lawsuit filed by community and conservation groups late last year, deferred for later consideration an argument by the … Read more

Public Interest Groups Sue EPA to Curb Slaughterhouse Pollution

EPA’s Decision Not to Update Pollution Standards Allows Slaughterhouses to Continue Discharging Unhealthy Amounts of Pollution into the Nation’s Waterways EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 10 am, Wednesday, December 18, 2019 Media contacts: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, (443) 510-2574 or Nydia Gutierrez, Earthjustice, (212) 284-8030 or Washington, D.C.— Eleven conservation and community groups, representing … Read more

Court Decision Supports Maryland’s Removal of Pollution Protections

Several Local Impaired Waterways Reclassified Without Any Scientific Support In 2016, Waterkeepers Chesapeake and several Riverkeepers filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because it approved the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) plan to strip away pollution protections from several streams and rivers without any scientific reasoning and in violation of the … Read more

Public Interest Groups Launch Legal Action to Protect Waterways from Slaughterhouse Pollution

EPA’s Failure to Update Wastewater Guidelines is Allowing Contamination of Nation’s Waterways Media contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, (443) 510-2574 or Betsy Nicholas, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, (202) 423-0504 or Washington, D.C.— Conservation groups today filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to update slaughterhouse wastewater … Read more

Environmental Groups Intervene in Federal Proceeding over Conowingo Dam to Prevent Exelon from Shirking Bay Cleanup Responsibilities

In a new petition, Exelon is seeking to operate dam without state license, which groups say would create dangerous precedent (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Waterkeepers Chesapeake and the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, represented by Earthjustice, filed a motion to intervene in a federal agency proceeding between the State of Maryland and Exelon Corporation over the … Read more