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California ex rel. State Water Resources Control Bd. v. EPA

Citation: 5 ELR 20213
No. No. 73-2466, 511 F.2d 963/7 ERC 1667/(9th Cir., 02/13/1975)

Federal facilities which discharge pollutants into navigable waters are subject to the requirements of state NPDES permit programs approved by the EPA pursuant to § 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. The portions of EPA's approval of the California and Washington permit programs which exempted federal facilities from compliance are therefore invalid. It is well established that Congress may waive exclusive legislative jurisdiction over the activities of federal enclaves in deference to state regulation of those activities. The language in §§ 313, 402, 505(f) and 510 of the statute clearly constitutes such a waiver. While § 313 retains phraseology which courts, in interpreting the Clean Air Act, have found ambiguous as to the question of federal compliance with state permit requirements, the latter three sections of the FWPCA represent several important terminological and structural changes from the Air Act's language. The more comprehensive administrative scheme which the FWPCA establishes also manifests the congressional choice to waive exclusive federal jurisdiction over federal facilities and to rely on state regulatory and enforcement agencies to control water pollution from those sources. The EPA Administrator is therefore directed to reconsider his disapproval of portions of the applications of California and Washington which dealt with federal facility compliance.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Evelle J. Younger Attorney General
Carl Boronkay Asst. Attorney General
Roderick Walston
Richard C. Jacobs Deputy Attorneys General
6000 State Building
San Francisco, Cal. 94102

Slade Gorton Attorney General
Temple of Justice
Olympia, Wash. 98504

Counsel for Defendants
Wallace H. Johnson Asst. Attorney General
Edmund B. Clark
Martin Green
Raymond W. Mushal
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530