John Dolgetta


This Case Note examines the doctrine of standing in light of the Fifth Circuit's decision in Friends of the Earth v. Crown Central Petroleum. The Crown Central decision addressed whether the environmental organization, Friends of the Earth (FOE), met the requirements of standing necessary to bring a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act. The Fifth Circuit in Crown Central seems to have created a new requirement for establishing the "fairly traceable" prong of the standing analysis. On a summary judgment motion, the Fifth Circuit denied standing to FOE because it did not present scientific evidence to establish an "injury-in-fact." This Case Note argues that the Fifth Circuit misapplied the "injury- in-fact" analysis and improperly denied standing to FOE. This Case Note discusses the general background of the CWA, and the doctrine of standing as it applies to plaintiffs in environmental cases. Part III discusses the facts, procedural history, holding and reasoning of the Fifth Circuit in Crown Central. Part IV of this Case Note analyzes the court of appeals decision in Crown Central, and establishes that it had no basis upon which to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant. This Case Note concludes that environmental organizations and citizens deserve an expanded doctrine of standing because the surrogate enforcer should be allowed to stand up for the environment and oppose those who blatantly violate our environmental laws.