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Shawnee Coal Co. v. Andrus

Citation: 11 ELR 21040
No. No. 80-3220, 661 F.2d 1083/16 ERC 1921/(6th Cir., 10/05/1981) Rev'd

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the district court's decision, 11 ELR 20041, and rules that appellee is required to exhaust its administrative remedies under § 525 of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) before seeking judicial review under § 526 of the Act. Appellee sought review in district court of the Secretary of the Interior's issuance of cessation orders against appellee's coal tippling operations. The court rules that appellee may seek judicial review of a cessation order under § 526(a)(2); however, review is conditioned upon compliance with § 526(b) requiring review on the administrative record. Appellee must first apply to the Secretary for relief under § 525 from a cessation order issued under § 521. To allow judicial review before exhaustion of administrative remedies would render § 525 superfluous. In addition, the court rejects appellee's contention that it should be allowed to bypass available administrative procedures because its tippling operation is not connected to its coal mine and therefore is immune from regulation under SMCRA. The court refuses to waive the exhaustion requirement since (1) Congress intended the Act to encompass off-site processing operations, (2) the agency's expertise would be helpful in resolving the jurisdictional issue, and (3) exhaustion of administration remedies would not result in irreparable harm to appellee.

Counsel are listed at 11 ELR 20041.

Before: ENGEL and JONES, Circuit Judges; CELEBREZZE, Senior Circuit Judge.