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

Environmental Organizations File Lawsuits Against Flawed Maryland Industrial Stormwater Permit

Deficient permit will not protect waterways and fails to address environmental justice issues As a result of major flaws in the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) final Industrial Stormwater General Permit, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Blue Water Baltimore and Gunpowder Riverkeeper, as well as the Potomac Riverkeeper Network and Waterkeepers Chesapeake on Friday filed … Read more

D.C. Circuit to Rule on Scope of State Waiver Authority under Clean Water Act Section 401

On October 11, 2022, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Sassafras Riverkeeper, and Chesapeake Bay Foundation provided arguments to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of our challenge to a 50-year license granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to Exelon (now Constellation) for operation of the Conowingo … Read more

Waterkeepers Chesapeake Supports Ensuring Equitable Access to Courts in Virginia

Waterkeepers Chesapeake and Potomac Riverkeeper Network joined an amici curiae brief filed on July 5, 2022 in the Virginia Supreme Court to help ensure court access to challenge zoning decisions that may adversely impact communities of color, low-income communities, and communities already overburdened by pollution. The “friend of the court” brief was filed in Morgan et … Read more

Support Grows for Lawsuit Over Conowingo Dam Pollution

Several groups, legislators, and businesses support lawsuit challenging relicensing  (Takoma Park, MD) – Last Friday, three amicus briefs were filed by nonprofit watershed organizations, a bipartisan group of Maryland legislators, and several fishing businesses in support of the lawsuit challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) relicensing of Conowingo Dam for the next 50 years … Read more

Eastern Hellbender: In Need of Understanding & Protection

The hellbender is an ancient species of giant salamander which is native to the Susquehanna River and its tributaries, among other clear, fast-flowing mountain streams in 15 southeastern, midwestern and northeastern states. They play an important role in the ecosystem, both as predator and prey. If you’re lucky you can spot this creature in your … Read more

61 Groups Demand That EPA Update Industry Water Pollution Technology Standards, Many Dating to 1970s

Despite Legal Requirement for Annual Reviews, 66% of EPA Standards for Industry Date Back More Than 30 Years Washington, D.C. — Two thirds of EPA’s water pollution standards for industries are more than 30 years old, despite a Clean Water Act requirement that they be reviewed every year to keep pace with improving pollution control … Read more

In Response to Lawsuit, EPA Pledges to Strengthen Standards for Slaughterhouse Water Pollution

In a victory for clean water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on September 9, 2021, that it will update grossly outdated water-pollution control standards for the slaughterhouse industry. The announcement follows a December 2019 lawsuit Waterkeepers Chesapeake joined with several other community and conservation organizations challenging its prior decision not to do so. In … Read more

Lawsuit Filed to Overturn Denial of Endangered Species Protection to Eastern Hellbenders

North America’s Largest Salamanders Are Threatened by River Pollution From New York to Missouri NEW YORK — A lawsuit filed today by five conservation groups challenges a decision made by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the last administration to deny Endangered Species Act protection to eastern hellbenders. These river-dwelling salamanders can grow longer … Read more

Waterkeeper Groups File Legal Challenge of Federal Order to Relicense Conowingo Dam

(Takoma Park, MD) – Today, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, and Sassafras Riverkeeper, represented by Earthjustice and joined by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, filed a legal challenge in D.C. Circuit Court for a review of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) relicensing of the Conowingo Dam. The filing seeks to reverse FERC’s decision to grant … Read more

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