E. RON PICKARD and LINDA PICKARD, as TRUSTEES OF THE SHARON CHARITABLE TRUST and as INDIVIDUALS v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT of ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION, TENNESSEE WATER QUALITY CONTROL BOARD and TENNESSEE MATERIALS CORPORATION (Tenn. Ct. App. September 5, 2012)
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued a draft permit allowing a proposed rock quarry to discharge storm water and wastewater into a nearby creek.
Owners of property allegedly affected by the discharge filed a declaratory order petition with the Water Quality Control Board, seeking a declaration construing the rules regarding the protection of existing uses of waters. The Water Quality Control Board dismissed the petition as not ripe. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation subsequently issued a final permit to the quarry and the property owners filed both a permit appeal and another declaratory order petition with the Water Quality Control Board.
The Water Quality Control Board again dismissed the declaratory order petition. The property owners subsequently filed a petition for a declaratory judgment in the Davidson County Chancery Court. The Water Quality Control Board and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation argued that the petition was not ripe and that the property owners had not exhausted their administrative remedies. In addition, the Water Quality Control Board and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation argued that Tennessee Code Annotated Section 69-3-105(i) precluded the property owners from bringing a declaratory order petition prior to issuance of a permit. The trial court ruled in favor of the property owners and issued a declaratory judgment on the construction of Tennessee Compiled Rule and Regulation 1200-04-03-.06.
We affirm the trial court’s rulings with regard to ripeness, exhaustion of administrative remedies, and Tennessee Code Annotated Section 69-3-105(i), but reverse the grant of summary judgment on the construction of Tennessee Compiled Rule and Regulation 1200-04-03-.06 and remand for further proceedings.
Opinion available at: