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Delaware Valley Citizens' Council for Clean Air v. Pennsylvania

Citation: 12 ELR 20289
No. No. 81-2303, 674 F.2d 976/17 ERC 1151/(3d Cir., 03/01/1982) Denial of motions to modify & stay aff'd

The Third Circuit affirms three district court orders, 11 ELR 20954, [20954], 20956,concerning a consent decree requiring Pennsylvania to implement an automobile emissions inspection and maintenance program. In response to procedural challenges, the court rules that the district court was not required to hold an evidentiary hearing when it refused to modify the decree or when it modified the decree in a manner contemplated within the decree itself. With respect to substantive challenges, the Third Circuit rules that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to extend the deadline for establishing the program. The district court reasonably concluded that further delay would substantially postpone the attainment of air quality standards. In addition, Pennsylvania had made no assurances that alternative testing methods proposed by the state would be available to meet the later deadline. Nor did the district court abuse its discretion in finding Pennsylvania in violation of the decree since Pennsylvania admitted being in violation but delayed seeking a modification until two days before the deadline. The Third Circuit also rules that the district court reasonably modified the decree to require the establishment of two state-run "referee stations" and monthly audits of private inspection stations since these requirements were specified in the decree. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Pennsylvania to certify 3,000 inspection stations.

[The arguments raised in this case are summarized at ELR PEND. LIT. 65742 and the issues are discussed at 12 ELR 10027 — Ed.]

Counsel for Appellants
John M. Hrubovcak, Ass't Attorney General

Office of Chief Counsel
Department of Transportation, Transportation & Safety Bldg., Harrisburg PA 17120
(717) 787-2330

Counsel for Appellees
Jerome Balter, James S. Lanard
Public Interest Law Center
1315 Walnut St., Suite 1632, Philadelphia PA 19107
(215) 737-7200

Carol E. Dinkins, Ass't Attorney General; Jacques B. Gelin, Maria A. Iizuka
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2753

Garth, J. joined by Gibbons and Weis, JJ.