Cases on Federal Payment of Stormwater Fees Could Lead to a Federal Court Split

The 2011 Clean Water Act (CWA) Amendment allows municipalities to leverage reasonable stormwater fees on federal facilities. In USA v. Cities of Renton and Vancouver, a Washington State District Court recently ruled that federal facilities are responsible for municipal stormwater fees billed prior to enactment of the 2011 amendment. This decision could create a split among federal courts, as the U.S. Department of Justice is arguing that stormwater fees do not apply retroactively in DeKalb County, Georgia v. USA. If the Georgia federal claims court rules that the federal government is not required to pay stormwater fees incurred prior to January 2011, the stage will be set for a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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