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Drummond Coal Co. v. Watt

Citation: 14 ELR 20612
No. No. 83-7366, 735 F.2d 469/21 ERC 1753/(11th Cir., 07/02/1984)

The court rules that jurisdiction to challenge the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) abandoned mine land reclamation program regulations lies solely with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C.). Plaintiff challenges amendments to the regulations nationally applicable but promulgated in response to local Alabama practices. The plain language of SMCRA §526(a)(1) gives D.D.C. sole jurisdiction to nationally applicable SMCRA regulations. The Act's legislative history and purpose support this reading, despite the deletion of the word "only" from the section by the conference committee. Also, there is a common-law presumption that when Congress designates a forum for judicial review, that forum is exclusive.

Counsel for Appellant
Fournier J. Gale III
Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O'Neal
1900 First Nat'l-Southern Nat. Bldg., Birmingham AL 35203
(205) 252-8800

Counsel for Appellee
Kathleen P. Dewey, Robert L. Klarquist
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4519

Herbert J. Lewis III, Ass't U.S. Attorney
200 Fed. Bldg., 1800 Fifth Ave. N., Birmingham AL 35203
(205) 254-1785

Before RONEY and JOHNSON, Circuit Judges, and MORGAN, Senior Circuit Judge.