GRAND TRAVERSE BAND OF OTTAWA AND CHIPPEWA INDIANS; GRAND TRAVERSE BAY WATERSHED INITIATIVE, INC.; and ELK-SKEGEMOG LAKES ASSOCIATION v. BURNETTE FOODS, INCORPORATED
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and two local nonprofits, the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Initiative and the Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association, filed a Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, alleging that Michigan-based Burnette Foods Inc. violated the CWA by illegally releasing wastewater from its fruit-processing operation into nearby wetlands and by dumping wastewater that contained excessive levels of pollutants. Plaintiffs argue that unacceptable levels of E. coli bacteria and arsenic have been found downstream and that the pollutants have affected aquatic life in nearby Elk Lake and Spencer Creek. Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, civil penalties, and attorneys’ fees.
[To accompany Case Law Update "Biological Reviews Article Explores the “Michigan Tribes and Conservationists Allege Fruit Processing Facility is Harming Aquatic Life with Wastewater” from Brooks Animal Law Digest Issue No. 193]