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Shell Oil Co. v. Costle

Citation: 9 ELR 20465
No. No. 77-3207, 595 F.2d 224/13 ERC 1219/(5th Cir., 05/16/1979)

The court denies petitioner's challenge to the terms of a national pollution discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit issued it by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).Petitioner alleged that the permit for its Norco refinery gave insufficient allowance for effluents from its olefins production facility because the Agency improperly characterized the facility as a "petrochemical process" rather than a "thermal cracking process." Applying the "substantial evidence" test to assess the merit in EPA's characterization, the court finds it amply supported in the record. While rejecting the argument that any chemical manufacturing process resulting in the manufacture of some petrochemicals should by that fact be deemed a petrochemical process, the court notes that the process of producing olefins is commonly viewed by the industry as a petrochemical process. Therefore, the NPDES permit for the petitioner's refinery properly fails to allow increased discharges of effluent on this account.

Counsel for Petitioner
J. Barry St. John, Jr.
Liskow & Lewis
One Shell Square, 50th Floor, New Orleans LA 70139
(504) 581-7979

Counsel for Respondents
Stephen D. Ramsey
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2800

Before WISDOM, COLEMAN and RONEY, Circuit Judges.