Threatened Sensitive Joint Vetch as found in area of proposed KWR Intake on Mattaponi River, further endangered by King William Reservoir Project
King William Reservoir Opposition, Alliance To Save The Mattaponi, P.O. Box 150 Mattaponi, VA 23110-0150
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March 31, 2009

For Immediate Release

Contact: Chuck Epes, 804/780-1392 (office), 858/334-9663 (cell)


U.S. District Court Judge in D.C. Finds Permit “Arbitrary and Capricious”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a huge win for the Chesapeake Bay and project opponents, a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., ruled today that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit for the King William reservoir in King William County, Va., is arbitrary and capricious and therefore invalid.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. said the Army Corps “acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it found that the Reservoir Project was the least damaging practicable alternative.” The judge also found that the Corps’ conclusion that the permit will not cause or contribute to significant degradation of the waters of the United States was arbitrary and capricious, and that its determination that the permit complies with the public interest requirement was arbitrary and capricious.

The judge further ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also acted arbitrarily and capriciously by considering factors outside of its statutory authority when it opted not to veto the Corps’ permit.

Today’s ruling is a great victory for the plaintiffs in the case – the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Alliance to Save the Mattaponi, the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Mattaponi Tribe, all of whom challenged the Corps permit after it was issued to the City of Newport News in 2005.

“This project was ill-conceived and environmentally destructive when it was proposed 20 years ago, and the court is saying it still is,” said Jon Mueller, litigation director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). “The immense damage that would be caused by this project was always out of proportion to the alleged need.”

“This is a profound victory for the Chesapeake Bay, its natural resources, and the thousands of citizens and landowners who have fought this project for decades,” said Roy Hoagland, CBF vice president for environmental protection and restoration.

Said Deborah Murray, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents the environmental plaintiffs in the case, “As the court noted, the reservoir project would represent the single largest authorized loss of wetlands in the Mid-Atlantic in the history of the Clean Water Act.”

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