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Train v. New York, City of

Citation: 5 ELR 20162
No. No. 73-1377, 420 U.S. 35/7 ERC 1497/(U.S., 02/18/1975) Aff'd

The EPA Administrator violated the FWPCA Amendments of 1972 when he refused to allot the full amount authorized for construction of sewage treatment plants, as Congress had specifically forbidden impoundment of those funds. Section 207 of the Act authorized the appropriation of $11 billion in fiscal years 1973 and 1974, and § 207 required the EPA Administrator to allot those funds among the states in proportion to their need for such facilities. Once allotments are made to the states, EPA is authorized to obligate funds up to the amount allotted. The court rejects EPA's argument that two changes made in the text of the Act by the House-Senate Conference Committee show Congress' intent to permit impoundment. The court states that if Congress, by changing "all sums authorized . . . shall be allotted" to "sums authorized . . . shall be allotted," had intended to alter the entire thrust and complexion of the Act, it chose inadequate means to do so. The second alteration, adding the words "not to exceed" before specifying the sums authorized, merely reflected the real possibility that states might not submit applications for projects costing the full amount allotted. The court also dismisses EPA's newly raised contention that it possesses discretion over the timing of expenditures, if not over the ultimate amount to be allotted and obligated, as the legislative history does not support such a view. The Nixon Administration's refusal even to allot 55 percent of the authorized funds was therefore illegal, and the decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is therefore affirmed. In the companion case of Train v. Campaign Clean Water, in which the Fourth Circuit had held that the Administrator enjoyed some discretion over whether to allot funds, the lower court is reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.

Counsel for Petitioner EPA
Robert H. Bork
Solicitor General
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Counsel for Respondent City of New York
John R. Thompson
Special Asst. Corporation Counsel
Municipal Building
New York, N.Y. 10007

Counsel for Respondent Campaign Clean Water
W. Thomas Jacks
Public Citizen Litigation Group
2000 P Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20036

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS concurs in the result.