The Environmental Protection Agency will not appeal a January ruling that handed Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II a courtroom victory over a federal agency he has tangled with more than once with since being elected to office in 2009.
A federal judge had ruled that the EPA overstepped its bounds in trying to regulate stormwater in a Northern Virginia watershed — a ruling Mr. Cuccinelli says could have cost the state and Fairfax County upward of $300 million.
“This EPA mandate would have been expensive, cumbersome and incredibly difficult to implement,” said Mr. Cuccinelli, who argued for the Virginia Department of Transportation and was joined by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in the case. “And it was likely to do more harm than good, as its effectiveness was unproven and it would have diverted hundreds of millions of dollars Fairfax County was already targeting for more effective methods of sediment control.”
U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady wrote in a nine-page opinion issued in January that water cannot be considered a “pollutant” under the Clean Water Act and was not subject to the federal regulation.
The EPA had attempted to restrict the flow of stormwater into Accotink Creek in Fairfax, claiming the amount of runoff was having a negative environmental impact and was subject to regulation.
The case was not the first that Mr. Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for Virginia governor, has challenged EPA authority.
A D.C. appellate court ruled in June that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gases, dismissing a lawsuit brought by scores of plaintiffs that included the state of Virginia. The court subsequently denied a request to rehear the case before the full court.