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Maryland ex rel. Burch v. Costle

Citation: 8 ELR 20442
No. No. 76-1779, 452 F. Supp. 1154/(D.D.C., 04/27/1978)

The court grants the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator's motion for summary judgment in a suit challenging his decision to stop further processing of an application for federal funding of a proposed sewage treatment plant near Dickerson, Maryland. Plaintiffs are mistaken in asserting that the Administrator's decision was arbitrary and capricious. The administrative record supports the Administrator's determinations that a treatment plant with a capacity of 60 million gallons per day is not justified by the needs of Montgomery County alone and that no interjurisdictional commitments have been made for use of the facility as a regional treatment plant. The Administrator also properly determined that the application did not satisfy EPA's cost-effectiveness regulations in that it failed to analyze two potentially less costly alternative sites. Nor did the Administrator err in staying completion of the environmental impact statement (EIS) when the processing of the funding application was suspended. Section 511(c)(1) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act makes clear that it is only the granting of federal funding for treatment plant construction, not the evaluation of a grant application, that constitutes the federal action to which the National Environmental Policy Act's EIS requirements apply.

For a digest of the documents filed in this case, see ELR PEND. LIT. 65423, 65476.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Warren K. Rich
Law Department
One S. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202
(301) 383-3737

Counsel for Defendant
John Varnum
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2735