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Department of Envtl. Resources v. Lebanon, City of

Citation: 9 ELR 20053
No. Nos. 403, 409, 393 A.2d 381/482 Pa. 66, (Pa., 10/05/1978)

Reversing the lower court, the supreme court upholds the determination of the Department of Environmental Resources (DER), as affirmed by the Environmental Hearing Board, to deny appellee city's request for modification of its water permit to allow discontinuance of its practice of fluoridating the city's water. The DER, which is charged by law with assuring the healthfulness of the state's water, held hearings concerning the proposed permit modification at which evidence was presented showing both that fluoridation may present some risk to health, and that it substantially improves the public dental health. Since the scope of judicial review of an administrative decision is quite narrow, the court rules that the agency's decision to require that fluoridation be continued cannot be overturned because it was supported by the evidence. Further, the agency's refusal to require all other municipalities in the state to institute similar programs does not transform its decision to require appellee to continue the practice into an abuse of discretion.

Counsel for Appellants
James T. Reilly
Egli, Reilly, Wolfson & Feeman
44 North 8th St., Lebanon PA 17042
(717) 273-3733

Michael S. Alushin, Ass't Attorney General
Department of Justice, Capitol Annex Bldg., Harrisburg PA 17120
(717) 787-3391

Counsel for Appellees
Samuel G. Weiss, Jr.
Weiss & Weiss
802 Walnut St., Lebanon PA 17042
(717) 273-1661

Before EAGEN, C.J., and O'BRIEN, ROBERTS, POMEROY, NIX, MANDERINO and PACKEL, JJ.

MANDERINO, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which NIX, J., joins.

PACKEL, former J., did not participate in the decision of this case.