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New York, City of v. EPA

Citation: 12 ELR 20183
No. No. 80 Civ. 1677 (ADS), (S.D.N.Y., 11/02/1981) Remanded

The district court remands for revision the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) ocean dumping permit regulations promulgated pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA). In a prior ruling, 11 ELR 20763, the court held that ocean dumping of sewage sludge may continue beyond the December 31, 1981 deadline mandated by the MPRSA, unless EPA determines, on a case-by-case basis, that such dumping would unreasonably degrade the marine environment. The court rules that the revised regulations may not establish a conclusive presumption of unreasonable degradation of the environment based solely upon a finding that a permit applicant's sludge violates the current regulations' environmental impact criteria. Instead, permit applications must be evaluated in light of all relevant criteria set forth in § 102(c) of the MPRSA. In addition, the court rules that, prior to promulgation of the revised regulations, EPA's evaluation of permit applications, including plaintiff's pending application for a special ocean dumping permit, may be based upon the current regulations to the extent they are consistent with the instant opinion. The court enjoins EPA from taking any enforcement action against plaintiff relating to ocean dumping of sewage sludge until EPA issues a final decision on plaintiff's petition to designate the New York Bight for such disposal. If EPA denies the petition, plaintiff must relocate its dumping operations from the Bight to other EPA-designated locations, but will retain its right to judicial review of the permit denial.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Allen G. Schwartz, Corp. Counsel; Thomas W. Bergdall, Stephen R. Kramer, Ass't Corp. Counsel
Municipal Bldg., New York NY 10007
(212) 566-3929

Counsel for Defendants
John S. Martin Jr., U.S. Attorney; Peter R. Paden, Ass't U.S. Attorney
One St. Andrew's Plaza, New York NY 10007
(212) 791-0055

Bruce C. Rashkow, Rebecca A. Donellan; James W. Moorman, Ass't Attorney General
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2750

diane L. Olsson
Office of the General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC 20460
(202) 382-4134