John Bliss


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Sierra Club v. Electronic Control Design, Inc. that monies paid by violators of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) to settle a citizen suit may be used to fund environmental projects unrelated to the settled violation. This decision has been opposed by the Department of Justice and runs counter to the trend of recent Supreme Court holdings which generally restrict citizen suits. This article examines the citizen suit provisions of the CWA, the Electronic Control Design decision and the arguments against it, and analyzes the shortcomings of the decision.