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Duquesne Light Co. v. EPA

Citation: 5 ELR 20539
No. No. 72-1542, 522 F.2d 1186/8 ERC 1065/(3d Cir., 08/21/1975) Remanded to EPA

A petition for review of the sulfur oxide emission limitations contained in Pennsylvania's Clean Air Act implementation plan is remanded to the EPA Administrator for the third time for further consideration of the limitations' economic and technological feasibility. Because low-sulfur coal is unavailable, the emission limitations will require the installation of flue gas desulfurization systems, or "scrubbers," by the three petitioning utility companies at their generating stations. While the court is unable, on the present record, to say that the Administrator was incorrect in determining that the limitations are economically feasible, his approval of the plan without investigating and resolving the utilities' claims that the limitation will have serious adverse economic effects on electricity rates, regional employment and the companies' ability to attract needed capital was arbitrary and an abuse of discretion. The present record also does not contain the technical data necessary for a rational determination that past experience with scrubbers, under conditions admittedly different from those that will be experienced by petitioners, demonstrates that the devices are technologically feasible for the generating stations in question.Since the statutory compliance deadline of July 1975 has already passed, the Administrator is also directed to ensure that whatever implementation plan is eventually approved incorporates a reasonable period for compliance. For an earlier ruling of the court of appeals in this litigation, see 3 ELR 20483.

Counsel for Petitioners
David McNeil Olds
John McN. Cramer
Robert M. Walter
Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay
P.O. Box 2009
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15219

Counsel for Respondent
Wallace H. Johnson Asst. Attorney General
Edmund B. Clark
Martin Green
John E. Varnum
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Robert V. Zener General Counsel
Norman S. Spindel
Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, D.C. 20460