Arnold & Porter Client Prevails in Challenge to EPA Water Quality Criteria
February 2012 -- Arnold & Porter client, The Mosaic Company, the world's leading producer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients, won a significant victory on February 18, 2012, when Federal District Court Judge Robert Hinkle struck down the core section of EPA's unprecedented water quality criteria establishing numeric nutrient levels for Florida's streams and lakes. It is one of a few instances in which such standards have been invalidated upon judicial review. While upholding other sections of the EPA rule, Judge Hinkle agreed with Mosaic and a coalition of state and local authorities and industry groups that EPA had erred when it targeted nutrient levels without regard to what levels are necessary to protect the State's waters.
Arnold & Porter lawyers played a leading role in framing the winning argument for the state, industry, and local government coalition, including drafting the reply brief argument that Judge Hinkle embraced. The Judge directed EPA to promptly promulgate a new rule premised on sound science, unless EPA instead approves the recently promulgated nutrient rule adopted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The recent State rule is one that the firm's client and others believe will fully safeguard Florida's waters without imposing hundreds of millions of dollars in needless costs by setting criteria that are not based on preventing harmful biological impacts from nutrients.
The Arnold & Porter team was led by partner Les Sotsky and associate Jeremy Karpatkin, and supported by associates Brett Marston and Sarah Greer.