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American Meat Inst. v. EPA

Citation: 6 ELR 20029
No. No. 74-1394, 526 F.2d 442/8 ERC 1369/(7th Cir., 11/24/1975)

This is a petition for review of the Environmental Protection Agency's effluent limitations for slaughterhouses and meat-packing plants. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals sustains the EPA Administrator's view that the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 authorize him to promulgate such limitations under §301. An examination of the statutory structure, the language of various sections of the Act and the legislative history shows that the Administrator's interpretation of the law is sufficiently reasonable to preclude the court from substituting its judgment for that of the agency. The court therefore rejects amici curiae's claim that effluent limitation must be established on an individual basis for each existing point source through the permit-issuing process of §402, using guidelines promulgated by EPA under §304(b). Since the regulations were properly promulgated under §301, the court of appeals has jurisdiction to consider this petition under §509(b) of the Act. If issued solely under §304, EPA's regulations would be reviewable in the district court rather than in the court of appeals. While the Eighth Circuit's decision in CPC International v. Train, 5 ELR 20392, is at variance with this court's resolution of these issues, Judge Tone notes that the Third Circuit's recent ruling in American Iron and Steel Institute v. EPA, 6 ELR 20068 and the decisions of several district courts support its position. Scrutinizing the limitations themselves, the court finds that, with the exception of the total suspended solids limitation of complex slaughterhouses, the 1977 standards are based on a reasoned analysis supported by the record and are not rendered unattainable by temperature and climactic effects. With the same exception, the 1983 limitations for biological oxygen demand and total suspended solids are also adequately supported, but the standard for ammonia is not. In order to expedite the case in view of the nearness of the 1977 deadlines, the defective portions of the regulations are remanded to EPA with directions that the agency may reissue them, with a clarifying explanation but without further hearings or opportunity for comment, if it concludes on reconsideration that evidence in the existing record but not previously relied upon is adequate to support the limitations.

Counsel for Petitioner
Robert L. Stern
Mayer, Brown & Platt
231 S. LaSalle Street
Chicago, Ill. 60604

Counsel for Respondents
Edmund B. Clark
Lloyd S. Guerci
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Counsel for Amicus Curiae CPC International
Charles F. Lettow
Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton,
1250 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

Before PELL, STEVENS and TONE, Circuit Judges.