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Reserve Mining Co. v. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Citation: 8 ELR 20404
No. Nos. 48352, 48393, 267 N.W.2d 720/11 ERC 1568/(Minn., 04/14/1978) Rev'd

The Minnesota Supreme Court reverses the judgment of a state district court modifying a permit issued by appellant agency allowing on-land disposal by respondent of taconite mining wastes. The district court had invalidated several conditions in the dumping permit because of inconsistency with the guidelines established by the federal court in Reserve Mining Co. v. Environmental Protection Agency, 5 ELR 20596, and had substituted in place thereof conditions proposed by respondent. Rejecting the lower court's analysis of the federal decision, the supreme court holds that the insertion of conditions which would allow air and water discharges of pollutants "up to a medically significant level" conflicts with the federal court's determination that the state shall impose limits on ambient concentrations even though such concentrations have not been proven to pose direct and imminent health hazards. Similarly, the trial court's reworking of the definition of those fibrous emissions subject to the permit was an unjustified departure from the federal court's mandate. The court also vacates as unauthorized by law the lower court's order directing the parties to renegotiate the terms of the arrangement under which they are to monitor discharge levels. The court concludes that the lower court erred in finding arbitrary and capricious the agency's insistence on the disputed permit conditions, and that even if that finding had been supported by the evidence, the appropriate response would have been a remand to the agency, not a judicial modification of the permit.

Counsel for Appellant
Eldon Kaul, Ass't Attorney General
1935 W. County Rd. B. 2, Roseville MN 55113
(612) 296-7373

Counsel for Respondents
Edward Fride
Hanft, Fride, O'Brien & Harrier, P.A.
1200 Alworth Bldg., Duluth MN 55802
(218) 722-4766

Maclay R. Hyde
Lindquist & Vennum
4200 IDS Center, Minneapolis MN 55402
(612) 335-6551

O. C. Adamson
Meagher, Geer, Markham, Anderson, Adamson, Flaskamp & Brennan
2250 IDS Center, Minneapolis MN 55402
(612) 338-0661

William Egan
Rider, Bennett, Egan, Johnson & Arundel
900 First Nat'l Bank Bldg., Minneapolis MN 55402
(512) 340-7951

G. Alan Cunningham
Faegre & Benson
1300 Northwestern Bank Bldg., Minneapolis MN 55402
(612) 371-5300

Johnson & Thomas
Norshor Bldg., Silver Bay MN 55614
(218) 226-4404