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Kerr-McGee Chem. Corp. v. Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20770
Nos. Nos. 82-5160, -5217, 709 F.2d 597/19 ERC 1372/(9th Cir., 06/30/1983) Rev'd

The Ninth Circuit, reversing the district court, 13 ELR 20269, holds that the standing and ripeness doctrines bar appellee's challenge to the Department of the Interior's (DOI's) recommendation that California redesignate Death Valley National Monument from a Class II to a Class I air quality region. The district court held that appellee satisfied the standing and ripeness doctrines and then ruled that DOI had failed to consider all relevant factors required by §164(d) of the Clean Air Act in making its redesignation recommendation. The court of appeals holds that appellee has failed to establish that it has suffered sufficient injury to establish standing in federal court and its claim is not ripe for review. The court rules that DOI's recommendation is not a prerequisite to state action because while the Clean Air Act requires the state to consult with DOI, it allows the state to act after 60 days even without a DOI response. Moreover, the DOI recommendation does not trigger a redesignation proceeding by the state. The statute gives the state discretion over redesignations, rendering the DOI recommendation purely advisory. Therefore, since only the state has authority to make a redesignation under §164 of the Clean Air Act, appellee has failed to show that the federal action has caused sufficient injury to warrant federal jurisdiction.

Counsel are listed at 13 ELR 20269.

Before WRIGHT and SCHROEDER, Circuit Judges, and EAST,* Senior District Judge.