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Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. APM Terminals Tacoma LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

May 23, 2019

PUGET SOUNDKEEPER ALLIANCE, Plaintiff,
v.
APM TERMINALS TACOMA, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING AMICUS PARTIES' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A BRIEF, RENOTING MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, AND REQUESTING SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFING

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Port of Tacoma's (“Port”) motion for partial summary judgment, Dkt. 176, Amicus Parties Washington Public Ports Association and Washington Maritime Federation's (“Amici”) motion for leave to file amici curiae brief, Dkt. 182, Plaintiff Puget Soundkeeper Alliance's (“Soundkeeper”) motion for partial summary judgment, Dkt. 196, the Port's cross-motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 210, and Cross-Defendant APM Terminals Tacoma, LLC's (“APMT”) motion to dismiss amended crossclaim, Dkt. 232. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as follows:

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On June 13, 2018, Soundkeeper filed a third amended complaint bringing a citizen suit under Section 505 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) as amended, 33 U.S.C. § 1365, against Defendants APMT, the Port, SSA Marine, Inc., and SSA Terminals, LLCs. Dkt. 109.

         On November 15, 2018, the Port filed a motion for summary judgment requesting that the Court dismiss Soundkeeper's “claims arising from stormwater discharges to the Wharf.” Dkt. 176 at 18.

         On November 30, 2018, Amici filed a motion for leave to file a brief in support of the Port's motion. Dkt. 182.

         On December 3, 2018, Soundkeeper responded to the Port's motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 185. On December 7, 2018, the Port replied. Dkt. 189.

         On December 17, 2018, Soundkeeper responded to Amici's motion. Dkt. 192. On December 21, 2018, Amici replied. Dkt. 194.

         On January 10, 2019, Soundkeeper filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 196. On January 28, 2019, the Port responded and filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. Dkts. 209, 210. On February 1, 2019, Soundkeeper replied. Dkt. 218. On February 19, 2019, Soundkeeper responded to the cross-motion. Dkt. 229. On February 22, 2019, the Port replied. Dkt. 231.

         On February 22, 2019, APMT filed a motion to dismiss the Port's crossclaim. Dkt. 232. On March 18, 2019, the Port responded. Dkt. 238. On March 22, 2019, APMT replied. Dkt. 241.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         At issue in this case are industrial stormwater discharges at a large marine cargo terminal (“Terminal”) used for ship unloading and cargo distribution. The Court will address the stormwater permitting process in general and then the facts of this case.

         A. The Federal Statutes

         The CWA is intended to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters.” 33 U.S.C. § 1251(a). To that end, the CWA makes it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source to navigable waters without a permit. Id. §§ 1311(a), 1362(12). The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) program is “[a] central provision of the Act” requiring that “individuals, corporations, and ...


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