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Mobil Oil Corp. v. EPA

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20891
Nos. No. 83-1047, 716 F.2d 1187/19 ERC 2043/(7th Cir., 09/14/1983) Aff'd

The Seventh Circuit affirms the district court, 13 ELR 20635, holding that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may, pursuant to an administrative warrant, collect samples of waste water before treatment, even though such samples are not expressly required under appellant's permit. The court initially observes that EPA's determination that §308(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) gives it authority to sample untreated waste water is entitled to great deference. The court holds that EPA has authority under FWPCA §§301 and 308 to sample untreated water because of its duties to determine compliance with the permit effluent limit, evaluate the efficiency of waste treatment systems, and develop new permitlimits. The court also holds that the permittee has no legitimate interest in keeping this information from EPA. Finally, the court rejects the permittee's contention that EPA was required to hold a public hearing before sampling untreated water, allegedly because such sampling has not been authorized by regulation. Even if sampling qualifies as a regulation, standard, effluent limitation, plan, or program that requires public participation in its development, the court holds that the sampling does not require a public hearing. The sampling is authorized already by 40 C.F.R. §122.7(i)(4), which allows EPA to sample any substances for the purpose of assuring permit compliance.

Counsel are listed at 13 ELR 20635

Before CUMMINGS, Chief Judge, COFFEY, Circuit Judge, and WEIGEL, Senior District Judge.*