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Law School Case Brief

Seacoast Anti-Pollution League v. Costle - 572 F.2d 872

Rule:

33 U.S.C.S. § 1311(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) prohibits the discharge of any pollutant unless the discharger, the point source operator, has obtained an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permit. Heat is a pollutant under 33 U.S.C.S. § 1362(6).

Facts:

Petitioners anti-pollution groups filed a petition opposing a decision by respondent Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granting a corporation permission, under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), to discharge heated water from a nuclear steam electric generating station into an estuary. Petitioners contended that the proceedings by which the EPA decided the issue and granted the corporation's application contravened certain provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C.S. § 501 et seq.

Issue:

Does the conflict with the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act invalidate the permission granted to a corporation by the Environmental Protection Agency?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court reversed respondent's order granting the permit and remanded the case for further proceedings. The court held that the APA was applicable to the FWPCA and concluded that respondent had erred in not holding a hearing to receive responses to his request for information.. The court concluded that respondent's reliance on an EPA technical review panel violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the court remanded for a new decision without consideration of the panel's recommendations

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