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Orangetown, Town of v. Ruckelshaus

Citation: 14 ELR 20677
No. No. 84-6089, 740 F.2d 185/21 ERC 1765/(2d Cir., 07/25/1984)

The court holds that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not submit to improper political pressure or violate either the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in approving funding for the final phase of the Rockland, New York sewage treatment plant expansion. The court holds that although EPA's alteration of the conditions of the grant may have been at the request of local politicans, the Agency was responding to comments on the effect of the grant on area development, a relevant factor for EPA to consider in making FWPCA grants. When political influence concerns relevant factors, it is not improper. Since the funding decision was not adjudicatory, the ex parte nature of the contacts did not deprive plaintiffs of due process.

The court next holds that EPA's decision did not violate the FWPCA. The record shows that the Agency made all the findings and took all steps required by the Act; EPA did not need to document these things in the record in any particular orde.

Finally, the court holds that changes in the project did not merit new NEPA review. The "changes," which include an increased likelihood of loss of federal funding under the new permit conditions, a possibility of changing the location of a compost facility, and a slightly higher plant capacity, are not significant enough to merit review.

Counsel are listed at 14 ELR 20049.

Van Graafeiland, J. joined by Oakes and Bonsal,* JJ.