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Seabrook, City of v. Costle

ELR Citation: 11 ELR 21068
Nos. No. 80-2103, 659 F.2d 1371/16 ERC 1676/(5th Cir., 10/30/1981)

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals holds that the district court lacked jurisdiction to review the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) conditional approval of the Texas revised state implementation plan (SIP) and that §113(a) of the Clean Air Act does not impose a mandatory duty on EPA to make a formal finding when presented with information concerning a possible violation of a SIP. The district court dismissed appellants' suit under §304(a)(2) of the Clean Air Act for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The circuit court rules that, even assuming that the district court initially had jurisdiction, the Administrator's subsequent conditional approval of the revised Texas SIP constituted final action over which the courts of appeals, pursuant to §307(b)(1), have exclusive jurisdiction. In addition, the district court did not have jurisdiction over appellants' second allegation since neither §113 nor any other section of the Clean Air Act imposes a mandatory duty to make a finding on every alleged violation of a SIP. The decision to take preliminary investigatory steps, like the decision to initiate an enforcement action, was intended by Congress to be left to the discretion of the Administrator.

Counsel for Appellants
James M. Soctt Jr.
13935 Ivymount, Sugarland TX 77478
(713) 491-4887

Counsel for Appellee
Jose R. Allen
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-5290

Before REAVLEY, RANDALL, and SAM D. JOHNSON, Circuit Judges.