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United States v. Frezzo Bros.

Citation: 12 ELR 21133
No. No. 78-218, 546 F. Supp. 713/17 ERC 2037/(E.D. Pa., 07/19/1982) Petition to vacate denied

The court denies defendants' petition to vacate their convictions for discharging pollutants from mushroom composting operations without a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit in violation of §§ 301(a) and 309(c) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). The Third Circuit overturned defendants' convictions, 11 ELR 20914, and remanded the case for a determination of whether defendants' composting operation constituted an "agricultural activity" within the meaning of the applicable regulations and was therefore exempt from the permit requirement of § 301(a). The court rules that the regulations did not exempt defendants from the permit requirement since defendants neither knew of nor relied upon the regulations in deciding to discharge pollutants without a permit. Furthermore, § 309(c) does not require proof of intent to violate the statute, only proof that a defendant acted willfully or negligently and intended to do the acts. The court also rules that defendants' convictions are valid even if they had relied upon the regulations since their composting operation constitutes manufacturing, not an agricultural activity. In addition, the court rules that, assuming that the composting was an agricultural activity, it was not exempt from the permit requirement because defendants' pollution emanated from an agricultural point source and such pollution is not included within the agricultural activity exemption.

[Appendix A to this opinion has been omitted — Ed.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
Peter F. Vaira, U.S. Attorney; Walter S. Batty Jr., Bruce J. Chasan
3310 U.S. Cthse., 601 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19106
(215) 597-2556

Counsel for Defendants
John Rogers Carroll, Thomas Colas Carroll
Carroll & Carroll
615 Chestnut St., Philadelphia PA 19106
(215) 925-4100