For the first time, emissions of oil and other pollutants that emanate from dams across the U.S. will now be regulated under the Clean Water Act. That’s after the Army Corps of Engineers settled a lawsuit this week brought by Columbia Riverkeeper. Craig Johnston, a Lewis & Clark environmental law professor, says the results of the settlement are legally very significant. But he says the environmental effects will vary from dam to dam — and will depend on the way the Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with regulation.
We’ll talk to Johnston about the details of the lawsuit and the role of citizen lawsuits more broadly in crafting environmental policy.