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Judge tosses environmental challenge of Strip District project

| Monday, April 7, 2014, 4:13 p.m.

A federal judge on Monday dismissed an environmental group's challenge of how the city is handling stormwater plans for a long-delayed Strip District development.

PennFuture sued the city and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, claiming they violated federal law by approving a proposal by Buncher Co. of the Strip District to redevelop 50 acres along the river.

The group contends the $400 million project doesn't include storm runoff controls required by a 2010 city ordinance.

The ordinance was passed to comply with a federal permit requirement that lets Pittsburgh discharge some stormwater into the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela rivers.

U.S. District Judge Robert Mitchell didn't rule on the claim that the project violates the ordinance. He dismissed the case based on a jurisdictional issue, saying that nothing in the permit or prior court decision makes a violation of the city ordinance a federal matter, so the group must contest the city's actions in state court.

Heather Langeland, an attorney for PennFuture, said the group hasn't decided how it will respond to the ruling.

Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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