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Environmental Defense Fund v. Costle

Citation: 8 ELR 20145
No. No. 74-1698, 439 F. Supp. 980/12 ERC 1929/(E.D.N.Y., 09/16/1977)

Despite finding that the environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared by defendant failed to comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the court denies plaintiff's request for injunctive relief against funding and construction of several sewage treatment facilities. The court allows the projects to continue and requires that defendant remedy the deficiency by submitting a supplemental impact statement. The sole meritorious claim among the scores of violations of NEPA alleged by plaintiff is that the EIS did not consider the anticipated project impacts on shellfish and the shellfish industry. Where an EIS lacks sufficient information to permit even an educated guess as to the magnitude of such impacts, the filing of a supplemental environmental statement is required. Plaintiff's allegations of numerous violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, of which the foremost is the alleged failure to implement the best practicable waste treatment technology, are also without merit and are rejected. In itself, the term "practicable" implies a permissible flexibility in the Administrator's approval of sewage systems. Here the decision to approve the proposed ocean outfall discharge system is not an arbitrary and capricious violation of the best practicable technology requirement.

Counsel for Plaintiff
James T. B. Tripp
Environmental Defense Fund, Inc.
475 Park Ave. S., New York NY 10016
(212) 686-4191

J. G. Speth
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
917 15th St. NW, Washington DC 20005
(202) 737-5000

David Sive
Winer, Neuburger & Sive
425 Park Ave., New York NY 10022
(212) 421-2150

Robert I. Skoy
Koy, Lowell & Chase, P.C.
1501 Franklin Ave., Mineola NY 11501
(516) 741-7600

William R. Ginsberg
Hofstra University School of Law
1000 Fulton Ave., Hempstead NY 11550
(516) 560-3636

David W. Plant, Lars I. Kulleseid, John W. Schlicher
Fish & Neave
227 Park Ave., New York NY 10017
(212) 826-1050

Counsel for Defendants
David G. Trager, U.S. Attorney; George H. Weller, J. Christopher Jensen, Warren Llewellyn, Ass't U.S. Attorneys
225 Camden Pl. E., Brooklyn NY 11201
(212) 330-7106

Lenore Daly, Deputy Regional Attorney
Environmental Protection Agency, Region II
26 Federal Plaza, New York NY 10007
(212) 264-4299

Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney General; Stanley Fishman, Ass't Attorney General in Charge, Water and Air Resources Bureau; Howard A. Fromer, Olin Harper LeCompte, Ass't Attorneys General
State Capitol, Albany NY 12224
(518) 474-7330