Spraying for Mosquitos Does Not Violate Clean Water Act
Description Court refused to issue an injunction to stop the spraying of an insecticide to kill mosquitoes. The EPA had found that the spray was safe and did not pose a danger to the environment. Consequently, there was no violation of the Clean Water Act.
Topic Environmental Law
Key Words Clean Water Act; Insecticides; Public Health
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Due to the spread of the SW Legal Nile Virus, carried by mosquitos, insecticides were sprayed around New York to try to limit the spread of the disease. The spray program was approved by the EPA, the Centers for Disease Control, and New York health and environmental agencies. Various groups sued to enjoin the spraying, contending that it posed a danger to human health and the environment. Specifically, the groups argued that it was a pollutant that damaged water in violation of the Clean Water Act.
Decision Injunction denied. EPA approved the insecticide for aerial spraying, knowing it would land in water. It determined that it would not have "unreasonable adverse effects on the environment" when it registered the spray. "It would be stretching the language of the statute well beyond the intent of Congress to hold that the de minimus incidental drift over navigable waters of a pesticide is a discharge from a point source into those waters."
Citation No Spray Coalition, Inc. v. The City of New York, 2000 WL 1401458 (S.D. N.Y., 2000)

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