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Survey Article


In 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that a plaintiff and the organization to which she belonged had standing, based on her claimed injury to her aesthetic well-being, to bring a Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suit against a developer who had allegedly filled a wetland in violation of its permit, even though the plaintiff had never visited the wetland and even though the wetland was on private property not accessible to the plaintiff. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama concluded that acid mine leachate from a refuse pile into groundwater, and from there into the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River, was a point source discharge requiring a permit under the Clean Water Act. The United States District for the Northern District of Georgia, in a case involving claims arising out of the contamination of drinking water in Summerville, Georgia, with per and polyfluoroalkyl substances used in textile manufacturing, among other applications, addressed motions to dismiss on numerous grounds made by the defendants in the case and for the most part denied those motions. Finally, in an oil spill remediation and cost recovery contribution action brought by a private company who claimed that the United States Army Corps of Engineers was solely at fault in causing the spill, the United States District Court for the Eleventh Circuit, in an issue of first impression for the Court, held that the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) provides the exclusive remedy for parties seeking cost recovery due to an oil spill, that the OPA does not allow for a claim against the United States, superseding the Suits in Admiralty Act, and that the OPA does not provide a defense to liability for a responsible party based on the spill being the sole fault of the United States