News | April 1, 2009

Court overturns King William reservoir permit

In a major victory for SELC and our conservation partners in Virginia, a federal judge ruled on March 31 to overturn a permit issued by the Corps of Engineers for a massive impoundment in the Pamunkey / Mattaponi River watershed in King William County. The reservoir would destroy more than 400 acres of wetlands, the single largest, authorized loss of wetlands in the mid-Atlantic region in the past 37 years, since passage of the Clean Water Act.

The U.S. District Court in D.C., agreeing with almost all of our claims, found that the Corps' decisions in issuing the permit in 2005 were “arbitrary and capricious” on several scores:

  • That the reservoir would not cause significant environmental damage to aquatic resources;
  • That it was the least environmentally damaging alternative available;
  • That the wetland mitigation plan would adequately compensate for the ecological functions of the lost wetlands.

Read the judge's ruling here (pdf)