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Pacific Legal Found. v. Quarles

Citation: 7 ELR 20653
No. No. CV-77-521-HP, 440 F. Supp. 316/10 ERC 1369/(C.D. Cal., 07/20/1977)

Rejecting plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, the court agrees that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may enforce its orders requiring Los Angeles to proceed with construction of the Hyperion interim sewage sludge disposal project while postponing the awarding of a grant to help pay for the project pending completion of an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The enforcement provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments (FWPCA) operate independently from the grant provisions. EPA's exemption from the NEPA EIS process is to avoid delays in implementing the FWPCA's goals. EPA's duty here is limited to preparing an EIS for the grant alone; the agency is not required to prepare an EIS on its general policy of eliminating the ocean disposal of sludge or the NPDES permit condition requiring secondary treatment which made the interim sludge disposal project necessary. The court reconciles the differing philosophies of pollution control in §§ 301 (control of pollutants at their source) and 403 (prevention of water quality degradation) of the FWPCA by finding that the same discharge standards were intended to apply to the nation's navigable waters and to the oceans. Though not conclusive, the legislative history on balance supports EPA's conclusion that the secondary treatment requirements of § 301 apply to ocean-discharging sewage treatment plants. Congress intended EPA to regulate all water pollution, and the FWPCA and the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act operate together for this comprehensive scheme of water quality improvement.

For a digest of the complaint filed, see ELR 65454.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Thomas E. Hookano
Pacific Legal Foundation
455 Capitol Mall, Suite 465, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 444-0154

Counsel for Defendants
Barry Trilling, Ass't U.S. Attorney
312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles CA 90012
(213) 688-2434