The Keeley Decision

WV Highlands Conservancy and WV Rivers Coalition vs. Randy Huffman

On January 9, 2010, the federal court in Clarksburg, WV ruled in the case of WV Highlands Conservancy and WV Rivers Coalition vs. Randy Huffman. Known as “The Keeley Decision” the outcome required anyone who installs and/or operates a passive or active AMD treatment system and creates a point source discharge to obtain a NPDES permit. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Irene Keeley’s decision on November 8, 2010. The word “any” includes Good Samaritan organizations, including watershed groups.  Although some states have Good Samaritan legislation in place, Judge Keeley and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that state legislation cannot grant exemptions to the Clean Water Act – only Congress can do that.

We are providing two documents for your use:  one  is a talking paper developed by Paul Ziemkiewicz of the WV Water Resources Institute, and Andy McAlister of Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. The other is a copy of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.  Please read these thoroughly and then contact your Congressional member to ask that they find a solution that would allow watershed groups to continue as they have in remediating AML/AMD projects:

WV Highlands Conservancy and WV Rivers Coalition vs. Randy Huffman 

Court Decision Working Document

4th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision


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