Tenth Circuit Reverses $500,000 Clean Water Act Penalty After Incomplete Application of Maui Factors by the District Court

February 2024

Environmental, Energy, & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 4, Number 5

On January 3, 2024, a unanimous Tenth Circuit panel reversed a U.S. District Court in Colorado’s issuance of a $500,000 penalty under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The reversal was based on the District Court’s incomplete application of the seven-part “functional equivalent” test established by the Supreme Court in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. In Pamela Stone et al. v. High Mountain Mining Co. LLC et al. the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the proper application of the seven-part functional equivalent Maui test involves considered analysis of all seven factors, not just the factors that are most relevant to the case at hand.

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