“Today we found out that the Supreme Court has sided with the people, upholding the original ruling of the Hawaii courts and upholding the Clean Water Act. This is a huge win for the environment. Mahalo for everyone involved.” – Tim Lara, Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter Chair

A decade of hard work and countless volunteer hours came to a satisfying conclusion today, with the Supreme Court ruling today that refused to allow a large loophole in the Clean Water Act and protect Maui’s ocean as well as waterways across our country from waterborne pollution.

In a fight that started a decade about with Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter asking the Arakawa administration to seek a NPDES permit for the Lahaina injection wells, his refusal lead us to move forward with a lawsuit in conjunction with Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club Maui, West Maui Preservation Association, and Earthjustice.

We won in lower courts but the County of Maui kept appealing. Our current County Council voted to settle this case at home, yet Mayor Victorino decided to push this all the way to the Supreme Court to seek clarity on the Clean Water Act.

The question presented to the Supreme Court was whether the CWA requires a permit when pollution originates from a point source (like the wastewater plant on Maui) but is conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater.

Today clarity was provided and the Supreme Court has decided in favor of upholding Clean Water Act protections for all people.

Read More about the case here from Angela Howe, Surfrider’s Legal Director