Supreme Court To Hear SFPUC Appeal—Baykeeper Statement

The Supreme Court agreed to hear San Francisco’s appeal of a ruling on water pollution standards for sewage discharges into the Pacific Ocean under the Clean Water Act. Given the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, this ruling could limit the authority of federal and state environmental agencies.

In response, Baykeeper managing attorney Eric Buescher issued the following statement: 

“San Francisco has given the activist supermajority on the Supreme Court the chance to further weaken the Clean Water Act. This court has already demonstrated its hostility to environmental legislation and regulation and its willingness to engage in judicial activism to undermine environmental protections.  

“Whatever merit there may be to the city’s views on the Clean Water Act and how it applies to its operations, the consequences are too great. The Supreme Court has the potential to cause significant harm throughout the country, mostly to communities and waterbodies that have long been overburdened with pollution, and are under-protected by existing regulations.  

“San Francisco has given the Supreme Court a chance to make it easier for polluters to pollute, and harder for the EPA and local regulators to protect the health of people and the environment. 

“That choice is disappointing. It’s bad environmental policy. It does a disservice to both the Bay and local residents, and it undercuts the city’s reputation as a model for environmental protection. 

“Baykeeper will work to ensure that our laws and the conduct of local governments and corporate polluters do not harm the Bay. We will continue, as we have for 35 years, to defend the Bay against the biggest threats—whether that is an unelected court in Washington DC, or local agencies polluting the Bay and undermining long-standing legal protections.”