In December 2003, a South Carolina district court entered an order awarding civil damages to an environmental group in a Clean Water Act citizens suit addressing discharges from Gaston Copper Recycling Corp.’s facility under a NPDES permit. An en banc Fourth Circuit decision held that the environmental group had standing through one of its members, which owned property downstream from the discharge area. After plaintiff’s revealed that its one member establishing its standing died before the 2003 order, the Fourth Circuit re-examined the citizen suit standing issue, which requires that at least a member of the plaintiff organization be among those parties affected by the alleged violations. On Feb. 7, 2008, the Fourth Circuit remanded the case to the district court to determine whether plaintiffs can establish standing through two additional members.

Link to the Fourth Circuit decision in Friends of the Earth, Inc. v Gaston Copper Recycling Corp. (PDF: 43KB)