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District of Columbia v. Train

Citation: 6 ELR 20007
No. No. 74-1013, 521 F.2d 971/8 ERC 1289/(D.C. Cir., 10/28/1975)

In cases where the EPA Administrator disapproves the transportation control portions of a state's air quality implementation plan, the Clean Air Act does not empower him to order the state to enact EPA-promulgated statutes and regulations for transportation control, or to bring federal enforcement actions against a state which declines to do so. After disapproving a state's plan, the Administrator has a duty under § 110 of the statute to promulgate an "applicable implementation plan" which provides for the attainment and maintenance of those standards, directly controls sources of air pollution, and can be enforced against violators under § 113. Such a substitute plan may not contain provisions requiring the state to enact, administer or enforce EPA-promulgated measures for air pollution control except where these requirements relate to state functions in the field of transportation which either directly or indirectly generate pollution. The Administrator does have authority under the statute and the Commerce Clause to regulate state activities which affect commerce, and therefore may require state and local governments to construct exclusive bus lanes and purchase additional buses for use in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, or prohibit the states from registering or allowing to operate on their streets any vehicles which do not comply with applicable inspection and maintenance requirements. EPA's regulations on the latter score must, however, be remanded to the agency for repromulgation in a more complete and enforceable form. But the federal government cannot validly exercise its commerce power by directing unconsenting states to regulate activities affecting interstate commerce; a state cannot be compelled to become involved in administering the details of a federally-promulgated regulatory scheme. The Administrator's attempt to require a state to establish retrofit programs and to evaluate and approve retrofit devices is therefore an impermissible encroachment on state sovereignty, violating both the Tenth Amendment and the proper boundaries of the commerce power. The regulations relating to the establishment of bicycle lanes and storage facilities, to the extent that they are not vacated for requiring the states to enact statutes and regulations, are remanded to the Administrator for lack of evidence in the record supporting the need for such facilities and their feasibility.

Counsel for Petitioner District of Columbia
John C. Salyer Asst. Corporation Counsel
C. Francis Murphy Corporation Counsel
Louis P. Robbins Principal Asst. Corporation Counsel
David Eisenberg Asst. Corporation Counsel
District Building
14th & Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004

Counsel for Petitioners Commonwealth of Virginia and State of Maryland
J. Thomas Steger Asst. Attorney General
State Capitol
Richmond, Va. 23219

Counsel for Petitioner County of Prince William, Va.
John S. Battle, Jr.
William H. King, Jr.
McGuire, Woods & Battle
1400 Ross Building
Richmond, Va. 23219

Counsel for Petitioner, City of Fairfax, Va.
Stephen M. Pratt
4009 Chain Bridge Rd.
Fairfax, Va. 22030

Counsel for Petitioner City of Alexandria, Va.
J. Howard Middleton, Jr. Asst. City Attorney
City Hall
Alexandria, Va. 22313

Counsel for Intervenors Washington Area Bicyclist Assn., Metropolitan Washington Coalition for Clean Air, and Breathers for the Reduction of Atmospheric Hazards to the Environment
Joel D. Joseph
Washington Area Bicyclist Assn.
1346 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

Counsel for Respondents
Bruce J. Chasan
Edmund B. Clark
Martin Green
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Richard G. Stoll, Jr.
Robert V. Zener, General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, D.C. 20460

For himself, Robb and Christensen,* JJ.