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Homestake Mining Co. v. United States

Citation: 10 ELR 20072
No. No. 78-5027, 477 F. Supp. 1279/13 ERC 2081/(D.S.D., 10/16/1979)

The court upholds the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) approval of South Dakota's action, as part of its revised water quality standards, designating as a cold water permanent fishery, the creek into which plaintiff indirectly discharges mining wastes. The statutory language and purposes as well as the relevant case law does not support the contention that the standards are invalid because they are more stringent than the Federal Water Pollution Control Act requires. The court also rules that because the state was not required to give any special weight to social and economic factors, its failure to consider them did not invalidate the standards. The court labels as premature the additional claim that EPA improperly relied on § 303 rather than § 302 of the Act in approving the revised standards, but it goes on to conclude that this argument is unpersuasive on the merits in any event. Nor can it be argued that EPA's use of a guidance document emphasizing recreational uses and preservation of aquatic life improperly limited state discretion under § 303 since South Dakota in this case voluntarily adopted the more stringent water quality standards. Finally, the court upholds EPA's approval of the Cheyenne River basin plan under § 303(e), ruling that the Agency's failure to identify pollutants for which maximum daily loads must be established under § 303(d) did not invalidate the entire plan.

Counsel for Plaintiff
A. P. Fuller
P.O. Box 898, Lead SD 57554
(605) 584-2440

John C. Kapsner
P.O. Box 1574, Bismarck ND 58501
(701) 258-0630

Counsel for Defendants
Mark R. Sussman
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2752

Robert D. Hiaring, U.S. Attorney
231 U.S. Courthouse, 4000 S. Phillips Ave., Sioux Falls SD 57102
(605) 336-2980

Larry Edelman
Office of the Regional Counsel, Environmental Protection Agency
1860 Lincoln Way, Denver CO 80295
(303) 837-3826

Mark V. Meierhenry, Attorney General
State Capitol Bldg., Pierre SD 57501
(605) 224-3215