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United States v. General Dynamics Corp.

ELR Citation: 18 ELR 21297
Nos. No. CA4-87-312-K, (N.D. Tex., 06/09/1988) Motion to dismiss

The court holds that civil penalties may be assessed and injunctive relief issued under the Clean Air Act against a government contractor that operates an aircraft plant owned by the Air Force. The court first holds that it has subject matter jurisdiction, even though the government is suing the defendant over conduct at the government's property. The Clean Air Act did not divest the United States of the right to sue for injunctive relief in air pollution cases affecting its property, and in this case the Air Force has made funds available to the defendant to correct the violations, but the defendant has declined to use them. The court next holds that the defendant is not immune under the Defense Production Act (DPA). The DPA contains no suggestion that its immunity provision is intended to extend to the Clean Air Act, and the two acts must be read so as to make them both effective so far as possible; since the Clean Air Act requires compliance by federal agencies, it would be inconsistent to hold that a federal contractor is exempt from the same mandate. The DPA immunity is limited to claims based on contracts with third parties that a defense contractor must breach to fulfill its federal defense contract.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Henry Habicht, Ass't Attorney General; Linda C. Anderson
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-5266

Counsel for Defendant
Michael Lowenberg
Aikin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld
4100 First City Center, 1700 Pacific Ave., Dallas TX 75201-4618
(214) 969-2731