State Water Control Bd. v. Train
Citation: 6 ELR 20243
No. No. 74-0328-R, 424 F. Supp. 146/8 ERC 1609/(E.D. Va., 02/09/1976)
Defendants prevail in this declaratory and injunctive action challenging the 1977 effluent limitations imposed on municipal water treatment plants by § 301(b)(1)(E) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (FWPCA). The court rejects plaintiff's contention that treatment plants need not comply with the § 301 limits until such time as federal grant funds are available in an amount sufficient to underwrite 75 percent of the eligible cost of construction of such plants, and a reasonable time has been afforded to complete the necessary construction. The crucial flaw in plaintiff's argument is the assertion that the FWPCA's discharge limits are inextricably linked to its funding provisions. The fact is that both sets of provisions are clearly mandatory on their face, and nothing in the FWPCA purports to condition its enforcement provisions on adequate federal funding. Moreover, although Congress was well aware of the difficulty municipalities would have in meeting the deadlines imposed by passage of the FWPCA, it explicitly refused to fashion any exception to the compliance provisions. Therefore, although plaintiffs have demonstrated and defendants concede that many treatment plants cannot meet the 1977 deadline, and that Congress has not appropriated sufficient funds to provide the 75 percent funding authorized for municipalities, the court cannot invalidate the 1977 deadline. Rather, plaintiffs must look to the Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency for relief. This decision should not be construed as controlling the outcome of possible § 301 enforcement suits against municipalities that are honestly unable to meet the 1977 deadline. [On Feb. 25, 1976, the State of Virginia filed notice of appeal. — Ed.]
Counsel for Plaintiff
James E. Ryan, Jr.
Virginia Attorney General's Office
1101 E. Broad St.
Richmond VA 23219
Counsel for Defendant Environmental Protection Agency
Charles W. Shipley
Department of Justice
Washington DC 20530
Attorney for Intervenor-Defendant
David S. Favre
13629 Warwick Blvd.
Newport News VA 23602
Attorney for Amicus Curiae Natural Resources Defense Council
Edward L. Strohbehn, Jr.
917 15th St., N.W.
Washington DC 20004