U.S. District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division, No. 3:09-CV-00079, June 30, 2011: Memorandum opinion finds the land trust holder of a conservation easement has standing to sue under the federal Clean Water Act because the alleged injury to the property rights of the land trust “provide an irrefutable basis for standing,” and at the pleading stage of litigation, the court may assume specific injury based on the land trust’s general allegation of injury to one of its core purposes, to protect water quality in an area that includes the subject location.
The Court also granted the Water Authority’s motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) because the Plaintiffs (land trust and land owner) failed to provide the required 60-day notice for all the violations alleged in an amended complaint, but the Court allowed ten days’ leave for Plaintiffs to file a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint.
The Historic Green Springs, Inc. land trust (HGSI), in its amended complaint had stated that “protecting water quality in Camp Creek [a water body into which the Water Authority discharged treated sewage wastewater] is a core duty in [HGSI's] overall purpose of preserving and protecting the properties that comprise the District, which it accomplishes through the use of conservation easements that, among other things, protect the riparian rights and beneficial uses of Camp Creek.”
Memorandum Opinion available at http://www.vawd.uscourts.gov/OPINIONS/MOON/3.09CV79HGSIV.LOUISA%28GRANTMTDCANAMEND%29.PDF.