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Environmental Law Clinic keeps Spokane River safe

The Gonzaga University Environmental Law Clinic submitted a 60-day notice letter on Dec. 1 to the City of Spokane concerning the large amount of pollution within the Spokane River.

The notice letter addresses the city’s violations of the Phase II Permit of the Federal Clean Water Act. Studies from 2004 and 2007 show that the pollution level of water in the Spokane River exceeds that of Water Quality Standards.

The Gonzaga University Environmental Law Clinic is representing the Spokane Riverkeeper, Rick Eichstaedt. The Riverkeeper program started in New York with the Hudson River in 1966. Eichstaedt’s role is centered on the surveillance of a major body of water and he is to be the “eyes, ears and voice for the river,” said director of the Gonzaga Environmental Law Clinic, Mike Chappell. This position is distributed through the Center for Justice.

The Environmental Law Clinic is a non-profit law firm that emerged within the Gonzaga Law School this past fall. Chappell described the importance of the notice letter as the first step toward action.

“The effect of filing a complaint is that litigation in federal court begins and the two sides are required to comply with the requirements set forth by the court,” Chappell said. Continue Reading →