Advancing the Case for the Mills

The Latest Update on the Mills Case! Most of the contributions to CAPR are to the Legal fund. This tells us that most people think the way to protect our property is through legal battles. If you are among those who believe we need to fight the property rights battle through the court, then NOW is the time for CAPR to marshal resources and forge ahead! The Clean Water Act contains provisions for “citizen suits” that allow “citizen attorneys general” to sue violators in federal court. At the most basic level, these provisions provide compensation for citizens who bring litigation against the federal government to enforce the federal laws. This concept provides for a “checks-and-balances” of the federal government by private citizens, and diminishes the worry of those citizens that they cannot afford to bring a lawsuit. While the premise of these statutes is admirable, some national environmental groups have severely taken advantage of the system – in some cases, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars for lawsuits that enforce procedures, and don’t protect the environment.  The Clean Water Act was not created for the Environmental Movement!  Part of the goal of this Lawsuit is for CAPR to put the shoe on the other foot, and use this method to get an actual wrong corrected! You can review the situation of the Mills Family in our previous post. The Mills made every effort to work with the City to no avail. Even though the City never showed proof that there is a wetland on the property, it seemed that Duvall did not want to resolve this issue without taking a part of the property. The Mills eventually filed suit against Duvall but when it became obvious that the City was more interested in wearing them down then resolving the issue equitably, the Mills dropped the suit. The claim of a wetland on the Mills property was never substantiated by the City and was subsequently refuted by a study conducted be SNR Company, a highly regarded environmental science consultant. The Real Issue is a large part of the reason the Mills lost so many trees to the windstorm is that the property is acting as a storm retention pond for surrounding uphill developments. Inundated with water, the trees couldn’t stand in the saturated soils. With approval of the City, the storm systems of these developments were designed to shed their run-off onto the Mills property. These uphill systems became part of the City sewer system after construction. The water that is dumped on the property is then picked back up by the City system as it exits the Mills property on the low side. In effect, the City of Duvall had made the Mills property a part of the of the City storm sewer system! And that is a violation of the City’s permit to handle storm waters and violates the federal Clean Water Act. In June of 2012, CAPR Legal Fund filed a citizens’ suit in federal court against  the City of Duvall.  This case is unique for CAPR in that it offers a new way for us to help protect not only the Mills family but others in the future. Federal law allows the filing of a Citizens’ Lawsuit for violations of the Clean Water Act. Last Monday, a Federal Judge ruled in the Mills Case the City of Duvall  is not violating its NPDES  stormwater permit by using the Mills property as a part of their storm water system. To throw salt in the wound, he implied that CAPR didn’t look like other environmental organizations, and therefore shouldn't have access to the citizen suit provisions to defend the Mills family from Duvall's abuses!  To assume that because CAPR upholds the rights of private landowners that its motives are insufficient to bring a Clean Water Act suit, is dangerously close to saying that only certain types of persons or organizations may make Clean Water Act claims, an idea that is properly foreign to Clean Water Act analysis.  In fact, a look at the Clean Water Act shows no section where the intent of the party bringing the action is an element of the claim.. Thanks to the generosity of CAPR's donors, CAPR has filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Order.  Though this motion is unlikely to be taken up by the judge, it has allowed CAPR to ensure that absolutely everything we might need is in the record for an appeal. We must begin preparation of the appeal of this ruling immediately, as it will be due by October 16th!   Appeal costs are estimated to run between $10,000 and $20,000, most of which will be needed to prepare and submit the appeal. As members and friends of CAPR, You are CAPR! WE NEED YOUR HELP TODAY!  Please donate to the legal fund right away!  We need YOUR donations TODAY, or we will not have the funds to fight and win this battle. Please donate Today! Your Help is vitally important to the ultimate success of this action! The Legal Fund is very cautious with its actions because the expending of funds should have a very good chance of securing benefits and results. CAPR is now poised to go to trial, and costs are significant. However, the odds for this challenge are excellent. Please help the Legal Fund take this most important next step! You can donate online using the Donate buttons on this page or if donating by mail is more your style, please send your check to CAPR Legal Fund, 718 Griffin Ave., #7, Enumclaw, WA 98022. Please note on your check “Mills action”. The Legal Fund is an IRS 501(c)(3) and your donations are tax deductible. Thank you for your continuing generosity in protecting and restoring Property Rights!    

October 1, 2013