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Three Thousand Residents of Punta Santiago v. EPA

Citation: 11 ELR 20814
No. No. 81-0379, 510 F. Supp. 1102/16 ERC 1539/(D.P.R., 04/07/1981)

The district court holds that plaintiffs have standing to challenge an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cease and desist order, issued under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), which allegedly resulted in flooding of plaintiffs' property. The court rejects EPA's contention that plaintiffs lack standing because they are not within the zone of interest protected by the FWPCA. EPA's restrictive interpretation of the FWPCA and its contention that any harm to plaintiffs is of little concern so long as the environment is safe violates the spirit of the nation's environmental laws and the constitutional guarantees that protect plaintiffs' interests. The general policy behind the creation of EPA and the environmental statutes is to maintain the harmonious relationship between man and nature and to preserve the people's health and welfare. The court therefore denies defendants' motion to dismiss.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
John L. A. DePassalacqua
Laguna Gardens, Isla Verde PR 00913

David Carrion Fuentes
Banco de Ponce Bldg., San Juan PR 00918
(809) 753-0755

Edilberto Berrios Davila
431 Ponce De Leon Ave., Hato Rey PR 00918
(803) 759-8374

Counsel for Defendants
Vivian D. Reyes de Rodriquez, Ass't U.S. Attorney
101 U.S. Cthse. & Fed. Bldg., Calle Carlos Chardon, Hato Rey PR 00918
(809) 753-4656

Fred R. Disheroon
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2307

Noel Acevedo
Region I, Environmental Protection Agency
John F. Kennedy Fed. Bldg., Boston MA 02203
(617) 223-3478

Noelia Marti de Martinez
Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board
Box 11488, Santurce PR 00910
(809) 725-5140

Eduardo Buso
Puerto Rico Department of Justice, P.O. Box 192, San Juan PR 00902
(809) 725-8158

Enrique Bray
Laffitte & Dominquez
Suite 1111, Chase Manhattan Bank Bldg., P.O. Box 1732, San Juan PR 00918
(809) 753-7910

Ruben T. Nigaglioni, Jose Ledesma-Vivaldi
Nigaglioni, Palou & Ledesma
Suite 1103, Banco de Ponce Bldg., San Juan PR 00918
(809) 754-6300