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Service Station Dealers of Greater N.Y., Inc. v. New York State Dep't of Envtl. Conservation

ELR Citation: 18 ELR 21213
Nos. No. 10581-87, (N.Y. Sup. Ct., 04/25/1988)

The court holds that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) complied with the state Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in issuing regulations requiring gasoline service stations to install Stage II vapor recovery systems. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the DEC's proposal to revise its state implementation plan to incorporate the Stage II measures, which are designed to reduce ozone precursor emissions by capturing gasoline vapors at the pump nozzle. The court notes that petitioner is limited in this proceeding to procedural challenges to the DEC's adoption of the Stage II regulations, since petitioner failed to challenge EPA's approval of the regulations. The court holds that the DEC complied with the state APA by adequately considering alternatives to the Stage II system. The DEC rationally concluded that onboard controls were not a viable alternative, since the potential benefits of a proposed federal rule requiring onboard control will not assist the state in meeting its current duty to comply with the ozone standard. The DEC reasonably decided that an enhanced inspection and maintenance program is also not a workable option because such a program would not offset the emission reductions lost if the Stage II program is not implemented. The court holds that the DEC's conclusion that the Stage II regulations would not adversely affect the environment was not arbitrary and capricious under SEQRA.

[Related decisions from federal court are published at 18 ELR 20106 and 20148.]

Counsel for Petitioner
Philip Gitlen
Whiteman, Osterman, and Hanna
One Commerce Plaza, Albany NY 12260
(518) 449-7600

Counsel for Respondents
Michael J. Moore, Ass't Attorney General
Department of Law
State of New York, Albany NY 12224
(518) 474-1190