Environmental Conservation Organization v. City of Dallas Creates Unnecessary Burdens for Citizen Suits under the Clean Water Act

Mongeon, Catherine
May 2009
Ecology Law Quarterly;2009, Vol. 36 Issue 2, p237
Academic Journal
In Environmental Conservation Organization v. City of Dallas, the Fifth Circuit creates obstacles for environmental citizen suits by imposing a "realistic prospect" standard for the mootness test. The realistic prospect standard shifts the burden of proof in a mootness test from the defendant to the citizen group filing suit, requiring the citizen group to prove that there is a "realistic prospect" that a defendant will continue to violate the statute in question. This Note argues that the Fifth Circuit erred in its decision to impose the "realistic prospect" standard and also in its application of the standard to the facts of that case. This Note concludes that the Fifth Circuit's decision exacerbates existing ambiguity in the Clean Water Act's citizen suit provision and could ultimately undermine the utility of citizen suits as supplemental enforcement mechanisms within the field of environmental law.


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