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Missouri v. Glasgow, City of

Citation: 28 ELR 21540
No. 97-2279, 152 F.3d 802/47 ERC 1241/(8th Cir., 08/10/1998)

The court holds that a city violated the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) by discharging sludge from its wastewater treatment facility without an operating permit. The court first holds that a state constitutional provision cannot excuse the city's operation of its water treatment facility without a permit in violation of federal law. The court rejects the city's defense that the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution prevents the state from charging enhanced fees to obtain permits for water treatment facilities. This state constitutional law defense works only to prevent the state from charging an increased fee to obtain a permit in order to comply with the state's own water pollution law. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution dictates that state law cannot prevent the administration and execution of a federal statute. Therefore, the court reverses and remands to the district court for issuance of an order declaring the city to be in violation of the federal statute and enjoining the city from discharging any sludge from its water treatment facility without an operating permit.

The court next holds that the state may lawfully increase the fees charged to cities for operating permits so long as the state continues to fund the cost of administrating the state water pollution laws in the same proportion as existed at the time of the Hancock Amendment's passage. However, if the state funding proportion has decreased, then the amount of the permit fees that represent a decrease in that proportion violates the Hancock Amendment. The court reverses the district court's ruling that a state law increasing the annual permit fee requirements for municipal water treatment facilities violates the Hancock Amendment and remands to the district court for a determination of whether the state has unlawfully decreased its proportion of funding for the costs of administrating the state water pollution laws by charging the city operating permit fees. Finally, the court also reverses the district court's ruling ordering the state to issue the city a permit to operate its waste treatment facility.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
William P. Cronan II
Cronan & Robinson
306 N. College Ave., Columbia MO 65201
(573) 442-5161

Counsel for Defendant
Kara L. Johnson, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
Supreme Court Bldg.
207 W. High St., Jefferson City MO 65101
(573) 751-3321

Before Arnold1 and Wollman, JJ.