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Minnesota v. Callaway

Citation: 5 ELR 20703
No. No. 3-75-Civ-120, 401 F. Supp. 524/8 ERC 1472/(D. Minn., 10/09/1975)

Section 1342(b) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 authorized Minnesota to require the Corps of Engineers to comply with state pollution abatement requirements, including obtaining a discharge permit for its dredging operations on the Mississippi River. Although plaintiff failed to give 60 days notice prior to filing suit as required by § 1356(b), the court has jurisdiction under the general federal question stitute to hear plaintiff's claim that the Corps is violating the FWPCA by ignoring state regulations which require secondary treatment of all dredge spoil, forbid discharge into navigable waters in violation of state water quality standards, and require all dredgers to obtain a state disposal permit. Nor is the suit barred by sovereign immunity since plaintiffs assert that the defendant federal officials are acting beyond the scope of their statutory authority, and Congress in any event clearly intended to waive sovereign immunity as to any action brought to enforce the terms of the FWPCA. Defendants are mistaken in asserting that § 1344 is the exclusive means of regulating dredging operations. Federal facilities must, as a general rule, obtain state discharge permits under the statute. Moreover, Minnesota's permit program approved under § 1342 covers all discharges, including the dredging operations in question. The court also finds that compelling defendants to comply with state permit requirements will not affect their authority to maintain navigation. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is granted.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Warren Spannaus Attorney General
Eldon G. Kaul Asst. Attorney General
William P. Donohue Special Attorney General
102 State Capitol
St. Paul, Minn. 55155

Counsel for Defendants
Robert G. Renner U.S. Attorney
Stephen G. Palmer Asst. U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse
Minneapolis, Minn. 55401

Michael D. Graves
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530