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Inland Steel Co. v. EPA

Citation: 8 ELR 20354
No. No. 77-1648, 574 F.2d 367/11 ERC 1353/(7th Cir., 03/03/1978)

The court upholds an Environmental Protection Agency regulation requiring its regional administrators to include in national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permits issued under § 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) a condition providing that more stringent toxic pollutant standards subsequently promulgated under § 307(a) will be incorporated into the permit. The court rejects petitioner's argument that § 402(k) makes a permit's terms irrevocable during its life except for standards imposed for toxic pollutants injurious to human health. In the court's view, both the language and legislative history of § 402(k) show that the provision deals with enforcement proceedings rather than permit modification. Other sectionns of the Act confirm this conclusion; there is nothing in § 307 to indicate that permit holders are excused form full compliance with its requirements, and when Congress wished to limit the Administrator's authority to modify permits, as in § 306, it did so with explicit language. The court also rules that neither § 402(b)(1)(C) nor the language in a footnote to the Supreme Court's opinion in DuPont v. Train, 7 ELR 20191, when properly construed, supports petitioner's contentions. The court notes in addition that the Administrator is given broad discretionary power under § 501(a) to issue necessary regulations and under §§ 301(a)(1) and § 402(a)(1) to impose conditions.

Counsel for Petitioner
James W. Gladden
Mayer, Brown & Platt
231 S. LaSalle St., Chicago IL 60604
(312) 782-0600

Counsel for Respondent
Pamela P. Quinn, Alan Eckert, Office of General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC 20460
(202) 755-2511

Thomas P. Sullivan, U.S. Attorney
219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60604
(312) 353-5333

James W. Moorman, Ass't Attorney General
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2701

Before SWYGERT and TONE, Circuit Judges, and SHARP, District Judge.*