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United States v. Accra Pac, Inc.

Citation: 29 ELR 21129
No. 98-3331, 173 F.3d 630/(7th Cir., 04/16/1999)

The court holds that a district court did not have jurisdiction to review a dispute about language in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consent decree approving a proposed cleanup plan. The plan was proposed by a company that abandoned an acrosol can facility following an explosion and a fire. The company, dissatisfied with EPA's characterization of the company's role in the contamination, sought review of the consent decree. The court first holds that the dispute is appealable. The dispute could have been a stand-alone suit under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), seeking review of the EPA's order approving the cleanup plan. The court then holds, however, that the dispute is not reviewable. The APA does not authorize review because the company could not establish that it was adversely affected or aggrieved by the administrative decision. Unwelcome language in a substantively favorable decision is not the kind of adverse effect that meets the requirement of actual injury. Moreover, a court of appeals reviews judgments, not opinions. In addition, Article III of the U.S. Constitution requires that a case or controversy be present at every moment of litigation. Thus, the district court's decision is vacated and remanded with instructions for the district court to dismiss the company's claims.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Andrew B. Baker Jr.
U.S. Attorney's Office
1001 Main St., Ste. A, Dyer IN 46311
(219) 322-8576

Counsel for Defendant
Richard S. VanRheenen
VanRheenen & Associates
One N. Pennsylvania St., Ste. 530, Indianapolis IN 46204
(317) 635-1200

Before Posner and Flaum, JJ.