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Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. EPA

Citation: 12 ELR 20044
No. Nos. 80-3081, -3892, 658 F.2d 271/16 ERC 1878/(5th Cir., 09/14/1981)

The court rules the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was not arbitrary and capricious in accepting the Secretary of the Interior's determination that the Breton Wilderness exceeded 5,000 acres on August 7, 1977, and thus concluding that the area is a mandatory Class I area entitled to visibility protection of §169A of the Clean Air Act. The court notes that the Breton Wilderness contains barrier islands with constantly changing dimensions, which makes the determination of the exact size of the wilderness impossible. After unsuccessful attempts to accurately measure the size of the wilderness, the Secretary relied upon the acreage descriptions contained in the act of Congress establishing the wilderness. Under the standard of review set out in §307(d) of the Clean Air Act, the court rules that the Administrator was within his discretion in accpeting the Secretary's determination. The court also upholds the Administrator's denial of the petition for reconsideration. EPA's alleged use of information not placed in the public docket to determine Breton's size is not so serious a procedural error as to require invalidation under §307(d)(8). In addition, the Administrator's reliance on legislative history was not arbitrary or capricious, especially since petitioner relied on the same information.

Counsel for Petitioner
Michael H. Salinsky
Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro
225 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94104
(415) 983-1000

Joseph E. LeBlanc Jr.
Milling, Benson, Woodward, Hillyer, Pierson & Miller
1100 Whitney Bldg., New Orleans LA 70130
(504) 581-3333

Counsel for Respondents
Jeffrey C. Smith
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC 20460
(202) 755-2511

Elizabeth Stein
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4160

Before REAVLEY, RANDALL and SAM D. JOHNSON, Circuit Judges.