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Seaburn Inc. v. EPA

Citation: 19 ELR 21300
No. No. 88-637, 712 F. Supp. 218/29 ERC 1597/(D.D.C., 04/20/1989)

The court holds that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) interpretation of the 1988 Ocean Dumping Ban Act equating ocean incineration with ocean dumping and its subsequent decision to suspend consideration of an ocean incineration permit was reasonable. The Ocean Dumping Ban Act, passed by Congress during the course of this litigation to amend the provisions of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, prohibits the issuance of new dumping permits and phases out all sewage sludge and industrial waste dumping by 1991. The court holds that EPA reasonably concluded that this ban on industrial wastes applies to all materials, including toxic substances incinerator emissions. The legislative history, taken alone or taken together with the statutory language, demonstrates Congress' unequivocal intent to initiate a moratorium, if not complete cessation, of dumping industrial waste into ocean waters. The court also holds that EPA's decision to suspend a commercial waste disposal company's ocean incineration permit application is sufficiently rational to be entitled to the traditional deference accorded an agency interpretation of a statute.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Elmer C. Maddy
Maddy, Dalton & Lion
55th Fl., Chrysler Bldg., 405 Lexington Ave., New York NY 10174
(212) 983-2345

Counsel for Defendants
Ashley Doherty
Land and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4438

David M. Gravallese
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M. St. SW, Washington DC 20460
(202) 382-7700