Appeals Court again sides with citizens protecting clean water

The Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond.

The United States Court of Appeals has rejected a major pipeline company’s request to reconsider the court’s April ruling in which it held that local citizen groups can enforce the Clean Water Act to stop continuing pollution of the Savannah River watershed in Anderson County, South Carolina, from a gasoline pipeline spill. 

In a case brought by SELC, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled in April that the groups Upstate Forever and Savannah Riverkeeper can proceed in federal court in South Carolina to stop the continuing flow of gasoline and diesel fuel into a tributary of the Savannah River near Belton. On May 30, the court denied Kinder Morgan’s request for rehearing.

 The Court of Appeals’ latest decision to deny rehearing is another win for clean water, not only for the Belton community in Anderson County, but also for citizens throughout the Southeast,” said Senior Attorney Frank Holleman. “Local citizens can now ask the court to require Kinder Morgan to stop the petroleum pollution of Anderson County’s waters that flow to the Savannah River.”

In December 2014, local residents discovered that Kinder Morgan’s underground Plantation Pipeline had ruptured, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel. The fuel polluted a nearby Savannah River tributary immediately and, more than three years later, petroleum pollutants continue to flow into the waterway. Kinder Morgan had no legal authorization for this pollution.

The case now returns to U.S. District Court in South Carolina for enforcement of the Clean Water Act. 

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