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United States v. Comunidades Unidas Contra la Contaminacion

Citation: 30 ELR 20421
No. No. 99-1752, 204 F.3d 275/50 ERC 1230/(1st Cir., 02/22/2000)

The court affirms the entry of a consent decree between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) that addressed PREPA's violation of several federal environmental statutes at its electric power plants. A citizen group that was unsatisfied with the negotiation process between EPA and PREPA intervened and sought an evidentiary hearing on the adequacy of the decree. The court first holds that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the hearing because the group had a fair opportunity to meet and confer with the negotiating parties and to present its views to the court at several stages. The court next holds that the record supports the district court's judgment that the decree is fair, adequate, reasonable, and consistent with the public environmental and health objectives of Congress. The court then holds that the district court provided no explanation for denying the group's request for attorneys fees. Therefore, the case is remanded for the limited purpose of revisiting this issue.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (8 pp., ELR Order No. L-186).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Mark R. Haag
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Counsel for Defendant
Melissa H. Maxman
Duane, Morris & Heckscher
One Liberty Pl., Ste. 4200, Philadelphia PA 19103
(215) 979-1000