U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


Cert. Denied


Questions Presented

When oil flows through a facility, into a vessel, then into the environment, does oil “discharge” from the facility such that an owner of the facility who neither owns nor controls the vessel is subject to civil penalties under 33 U.S.C. § 1321(b)?

Case Updates

Cert. petition denied

June 29, 2015

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief in support of cert.

April 23, 2015

In their brief, the U.S. Chamber and a broad coalition of national and local trade associations asked the U.S. Supreme Court to grant two certiorari petitions to review a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that adopted a confusing, overbroad, and internally inconsistent definition for an oil or hazardous substance “discharge” that triggers Clean Water Act civil penalties.

According to the amicus brief, the Fifth Circuit’s erroneous interpretation has introduced great uncertainty for investment in the Nation’s critical energy infrastructure—a deeply troubling reality independent of the Government’s request for a record-breaking $15 billion in civil penalties based on the ruling.

The U.S. Chamber filed this brief jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers, Business Roundtable, Texas Oil and Gas Association, Independent Petroleum Association of America, and American Petroleum Institute.

Christopher J. Walker served as counsel for the amici.

Case Documents