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The existence of express remedies in the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 demonstrates not only that congress intended to foreclose implied private actions but also that it intended to supplant any remedy that otherwise would be available under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983.
Respondent organization, which consisted of individual members harvesting fish off the coast of New York and New Jersey, filed an action against petitioner state and federal agencies, alleging that the discharge of pollution into certain waterways was destroying their fishing grounds. Respondent invoked several legal theories in support of the claims, which were dismissed. On appeal, respondent's claims, based on the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), 33 U.S.C.S. § 1251 et seq., Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (MPRSA), 33 U.S.C.S. § 1401 et seq., federal common law of nuisance, and maritime tort were reinstated. Petitioners were granted a writ of certiorari.
Did the appellate court correctly reinstate respondent’s FWPCA, MPRSA, and nuisance claims against petitioners?
The court dismissed respondent's FWPCA and MPRSA claims because there was no implied right of action under the two Acts. The court held that there were express remedies set forth in the FWPCA and MPRSA, which demonstrated legislative intent to foreclose implied private actions. The court dismissed respondent's nuisance claims because the FWPCA fully pre-empted the federal common law of nuisance in the area of ocean pollution.