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EPA v. California ex rel. State Water Resources Control Bd.

Citation: 6 ELR 20563
No. No. 74-1435, 426 U.S. 200/8 ERC 2089/(U.S., 06/07/1976) Rev'd

While federal installations discharging water pollutants are obliged, under § 313 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, to comply to the same extent as nonfederal facilities with state "requirements respecting control and abatement of pollution," obtaining a permit from a state with a federally approved permit program is not among such requirements. Federal installations are subject to state regulation only when and to the extent that congressional authorization is clear and unambiguous, Hancock v. Train, 6 ELR 20555, and here the Amendments do not subject federal facilities to state permit requirements with the requisite degree of clarity. The court of appeals decision, 5 ELR 20213 (9th Cir. 1975), is reversed.

Stewart and Rehnquist, JJ., dissenting, agree with the Ninth Circuit's opinion.

Counsel for Federal Defendant
Robert H.Bork, Solicitor General
Daniel M. Friedman, Deputy Solicitor General
Wallace H. Johnson, Asst. Attorney General
Edmund B. Clark
Raymond W. Mushal
Department of Justice
Washington DC 20530
(202) 737-8200

Robert V. Zener, General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency
Washington DC 20460
(202) 755-2500

Counsel for California
Roderick Walston, Deputy Attorney General
Carl Boronkay, Asst. Attorney General
Richard C. Jacobs, Deputy Attorney General
800 Tishman Bldg.
3580 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90010
(213) 736-2304

Counsel for Washington
Slade Gordon, Attorney General
Charles B. Roe, Jr., Senior Asst. Attorney General
Charles W. Lean, Asst. Attorney General
5th Floor, Highway Licenses Bldg.
Olympia WA 98504
(206) 753-6200

White, J. for Burger, C.J., Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell, and Stevens, JJ.

MR. JUSTICE STEWART and MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST dissent. They agree substantially with the reasoning of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in this case, 511 F. 2d 963, and they would, accordingly, affirm its judgment.