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United States v. Ashland Oil & Transp. Co.

Citation: 4 ELR 20784
No. No. 73-2161, 504 F.2d 1317/7 ERC 1114/(6th Cir., 11/01/1974) Aff'd

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms a lower court's ruling and holds that the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 apply to the discharge of pollution into nonnavigable tributaries of navigable streams. The language of the statute and its legislative history clearly show that Congress intended the Amendments to control such discharges, and Congress has constitutional authority under its interstate commerce powers to prohibit the pollution of nonnavigable tributaries. The court upholds a $500 fine against the owner of a pipeline from which 3200 gallons of crude oil was spilled into a nonnavigable stream. The government need not prove that the oil discharged into the nonnavigable stream reached a navigable river in order to obtain conviction under the Act. Defendant's notification to EPA concerning the existence of the spill, which came 15 hours after the spill occurred, was not immediate within the meaning of the statute, and thus does not support reversal of defendant's conviction for failure to "immediately" report the discharge to the appropriate government agency. For the district court's opinion, see 4 ELR 20185.

Counsel for Plaintiff
A. Duane Schwartz Asst. U.S. Attorney
211 U.S. Courthouse
Louisville, Ky. 40202

Larry Zimmerman
EPA Region 4
1421 Peachtree St. N.E.
Atlanta, Ga. 30309

wallace H. Johnson Asst. Attorney General
Edmund B. Clark
Carl Strass
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Counsel for Defendant
Ralph A. Wible
Sandidge, Holbrook & Craig
100 St. Ann Building
Owensboro, Ky. 42301