"Attorneys arguing before the Supreme Court today attempted to turn water into whiskey.
The justices searched for a standard of controlling pollution that travels through groundwater that would block regulated entities from evading the Clean Water Act while avoiding a significant expansion of the statute's federal permitting requirements.
"Is any little bit of groundwater enough to break the chain?" Chief Justice John Roberts asked at several points during oral arguments today in County of Maui v. Hawai'i Wildlife Fund.
In defending their positions, lawyers for environmental groups and the federal government likened pollution from Maui County's Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility, which runs through groundwater on its way to the Pacific Ocean, to whiskey added to a punch bowl."