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United States v. Tivian Labs., Inc.

Citation: 9 ELR 20008
No. No. 78-1109, 589 F.2d 49/12 ERC 1568/(1st Cir., 12/20/1978)

The First Circuit rejects challenges to the constitutionality of § 114 of the Clean Air Act and § 308 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, which authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to require a discharger to provide the Agency with information concerning manufacturing processes and emissions. Appellant's assertion that these provisions violate the fourth amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures and the fifth amendment's guarantee of due process is mistaken because the Agency's request for information is not enforceable under either Act until a court order is obtained. Noting that the procedure for data gathering envisioned by the two statutes is similar to the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum, the court emphasizes that the information sought is adequately described and is relevant to an agency investigation properly authorized by Congress and thus meets the conditions required by the fourth amendment for enforcement of an agency subpoena. The court finds equally lacking in merit the claim that the provisions violate the thirteenth amendment prohibition against involuntary servitude. The lower court's grant of summary judgment for the Agency on its information request is therefore affirmed. The case is remanded, however, for the limited purpose of ruling on defendant's claim that furnishing the requested information is so burdensome that it is entitled to reimbursement for the costs of compliance.

Counsel for Plaintiff-Appellee
Lincoln C. Almond, U.S. Attorney; Everett C. Sammartino, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 1401, Providence RI 02901
(401) 528-4311

Counsel for Defendant-Appellant
Richard K. Foster
326 Industrial Bank Bldg., Providence RI 02903
(401) 331-7272

Before Coffin, Campbell and Bownes, JJ.