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Chevron Chem. Co. v. Costle

Citation: 11 ELR 20147
No. No. 79-532, 499 F. Supp. 732/(D. Del., 06/05/1980)

The court denies plaintiff's request for injunctive relief and concludes that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) does not preclude the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in reviewing a pesticide registration application, from using test data submitted prior to 1970 by a competitor of the applicant to obtain a registration for the same pesticide. The 1978 amendments to the Act established a 10-year exclusive use period for post-1978 data and a 15-year right to compensation for post-1969 data. Without referring explicitly to how pre-1970 data was to be used, the 1978 amendments indicated that at the expiration of any exclusive use or compensation period, EPA could use data in evaluating other applications without permission from the original submitter and without requiring compensation from the later submitter. The court notes that although the issue is not free from doubt, the legislative scheme taken as a whole, including elimination of anti-competitive effects of earlier legislation, indicates that EPA has unfettered discretion to use pre-1970 data. Second, the court holds that if use of the data is a taking, it is a taking for a public rather than for a private use because Congress chose this method to promote the public interest. Third, the court declines to rule whether EPA's use of the data actually constitutes a fifth amendment taking entitling plaintiff to compensation and instead holds that plaintiff may proceed under the Tucker Act in the Court of Claims to determine whether it is entitled to compensation. Finally, the court rejects plaintiff's argument that retroactive application of the 1978 amendments to pre-1970 data divests it of property without due process of law. The court concludes that although the amendments operate retroactively, due process is not denied because the legislative scheme, permitting EPA to use but not disclose the data, is reasonably related to the congressional goals of encouraging competition and protecting public health. The court denies plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and grants defendant's motion for summary judgment.

[The court's denial of an injunction pending appeal is found at 11 ELR 20154, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals' affirmance of the district court's opinion is found at 11 ELR 20156 — Ed.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
Richard J. Abrams
Richards, Layton & Finger
P.O. Box 551, Wilmington DE 19899
(302) 658-6541

Anthony P. Brown, C. Douglas Floyd, Brian D. Bellardo
Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro
225 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94104
(415) 983-1000

Counsel for Defendant
James W. Garvin Jr., U.S. Attorney; Peggy L. Ableman, Ass't U.S. Attorney
5001 New Federal Bldg., 844 King St., Wilmington DE 19801
(302) 573-6277

Patrick J. Cafferty
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-5289

Edward C. Gray
Office of the General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC 20460
(202) 755-0638