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Zemansky v. EPA

Citation: 16 ELR 20862
No. No. A81-274 CIV, 24 ERC 1447/(D. Alaska, 07/09/1986)

The court holds that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) duty under Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) § 309(a)(3) to initiate enforcement proceedings against placer miners in violation of national pollutant discharge elimination system permits is discretionary. The court first rules that a citizen suit under FWPCA § 505(a)(2) against EPA to compel enforcement is unavailable unless EPA has a nondiscretionary duty. The court then holds that it is appropriate to defer to EPA's interpretation the § 309 imposes only a discretionary duty. The legislative history of § 309 is ambiguous and, in addition, this is the majority view.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Saul Friedman
Hedland, Fleischer & Friedman
Suite 400, 1016 W. 6th Ave., Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 279-5528

Counsel for Defendants
Michael R. Spaan, U.S. Attorney
Federal Bldg. & U.S. Cthse., 701 C St., Room C-252, Mail Box 9, Anchorage AK 99513
(907) 271-5071

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Intervenors
Eric Smith
Trustees for Alaska
725 Christensen Dr., Suite 4, Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 276-4244