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U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms OFCO’s Clean Water Act Win, Advancing Protections for Hood Canal and Puget Sound

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued their decision in Olympic Forest Coalition v. Coast Seafoods Company on March 9, affirming OFCO’s case. OFCO alleges that Coast Seafoods is violating the federal Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants from an oyster hatchery on Quilcene Bay without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Coast had claimed its oyster hatchery is the world’s largest shellfish hatchery, capable of producing over 45 billion eyed oyster larvae per year. Coast moved to dismiss and lost at the District Court and now at the Court of Appeals.

“The case is very important for Quilcene Bay and perhaps all of Puget Sound,” said Paul Kampmeier the attorney representing Olympic Forest Coalition, “because it clarifies the important legal issues—whether aquatic animal production facilities using ditches, channels, and pipes are point sources that require NPDES permits. The Ninth Circuit ruled today that they do. The case is not over but the decision today should provide greater protection for Hood Canal and Puget Sound.”

See press release here.

UPDATE 03/27/18: Coast Seafoods petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case en banc, with a panel of 11 judges. How long will Coast drag out the process and escape following basic law like other businesses?

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