In Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, the United States Supreme Court allowed for an equitable resolution to a lawsuit seeking immediate enforcement, by injunction, of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (“FWPCA”). In this case, the United States Navy violated the FWPCA by discharging munitions—a pollutant as defined by the statute—during training exercises into the waters surrounding the Island of Vieques. The Navy also failed to obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, which would have made the discharge lawful under the statute. The people of Puerto Rico sought to enjoin the training exercises through the FWPCA. The Navy’s actions, however, had no adverse effects on the area’s waters or the environment. Thus, the Court viewed the violation as only technical and allowed for an equitable resolution to an otherwise valid violation of a statute. This Comment argues that the Supreme Court’s holding was correct in allowing an equitable resolution to a technical violation of a statute.
Antonio G. Fraone,
Technical Fouls: Adjudicating Statutory Violations with Equitable Resolutions,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.
E. Supp. 15