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General Motors Corp. v. EPA

Citation: 14 ELR 20553
No. Nos. 83-3418, -3432, 738 F.2d 97/21 ERC 1381/(3d Cir., 06/26/1984)

The court upholds the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) denial of a request to extend the June 30, 1984 deadline by which integrated electroplating facilities must comply with pretreatment standards under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. EPA's refusal to initiate rulemaking to extend the compliance deadline to make up for a one-year period of inaction (during which EPA suspended the effectivedate of the regulations, litigation ensued, and EPA was ordered to reinstate the original deadline by the court) was not arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion for several reasons. Petitioners did not submit information not already before the Agency in support of their request and failed to demonstrate that they were unable to comply on schedule as a result of the suspension. Petitioners correctly point out that EPA changed its position on the necessity of extra time for compliance by integrated facilities, but it adequately explained the changes. The record indicates that most facilities will comply with the deadline and EPA's assurance that it would use its prosecutorial discretion to prevent harm to those unable to comply despite good faith efforts is a more appropriate remedy than a general rulemaking.

Counsel for Petitioners
Louis E. Tosi, William L. Patberg
Fuller & Henry
1200 Edison Plaza, 300 Madison Ave., Toledo OH 43603
(419) 255-8220

Norman W. Bernstein, Douglas Cutler
Ford Motor Co.
World Headquarters, The American Rd., Detroit MI 48121
(313) 322-3554

Turner T. Smith Jr., William B. Ellis
Hunton & Williams
P.O. Box 1535, 707 E. Main St., Richmond VA 23212
(804) 788-8200

Counsel for Respondents
Dov Weitman; A. James Barnes, General Counsel; Susan G. Lepow
Office of the General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC 20460
(202) 475-8040

F. Henry Habicht II, Ass't Attorney General; Jose R. Allen, Catherine A. Cotter
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2701

Joined by Gibbons and Becker, JJ.