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Sierra Club v. Train

Citation: 7 ELR 20670
No. No. 75-4028, 557 F.2d 485/10 ERC 1433/(5th Cir., 08/12/1977)

A suit by the United States to enjoin discharges in violation of the 1899 Rivers and Harbors Act, ELR 41141, does not render moot an earlier citizen suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to compel enforcement of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, ELR 41116, by issuing a compliance order against the same polluter under § 309. The court rules that the duty of the EPA Administrator under § 309(a)(3) to issue a compliance order is discretionary rather than mandatory and thus is not subject to judicial review in a citizen suit. The legislative history is not conclusive on the nature of this enforcement duty, but since bringing suit under § 309(a)(3) is left to the Administrator's discretion, it would be unreasonable to make it a mandatory duty under the same section to issue a compliance order. The district court's dismissal of the EPA Administrator as a defendant in the citizen suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is affirmed.

Counsel for Plaintiff-Appellant
Edward Still
Dawson, Crittenden & Still
601 Title Bldg., 2030 3d Ave. N., Birmingham AL 35203
(205) 323-6171

Counsel for Respondents-Appellees
Eva R. Datz (with Peter R. Taft, Ass't Attorney General; Carl Strass)
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2827

Wayman G. Sherrer, U.S. Attorney; L. Scott Atkins, Ass't U.S. Attorney
Room 200, Federal Courthouse, Birmingham AL 35203
(205) 254-1785

John E. Grenier, Charles A. Powell, III
Lange, Simpson, Robinson & Somerville
1700 1st Alabama Bank Bldg., 417 N. 20th St., Birmingham AL 35203
(205) 252-9222

Martin Ray
Suite 901, 1st National Bank Bldg., P.O. Box 65, Tuscaloosa AL 35401
(205) 345-5564

Counsel for Intervenor State of Alabama
William J. Baxley, Attorney General; Henry H. Caddell, Ass't Attorney General
250 Administration Bldg., Montgomery AL 36130
(205) 832-6054

Before TUTTLE, WISDOM and COLEMAN, Circuit Judges.