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Appalachian Power Co. v. Train

ELR Citation: 10 ELR 20319
Nos. Nos. 74-2096 et al., 620 F.2d 1040/14 ERC 1372/(4th Cir., 04/28/1980) 1978 revisions upheld

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denies petitions by various industrial parties and the Natural Resources Defense Council challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) amended regulations governing variances from best practicable technology (BPT) effluent limitation standards under §301 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The court rules that on its face the amended variance clause will admit consideration of all the required factors, including particularly the cost of compliance compared to reductions in discharges. The amended provision thus cannot be set aside for noncompliance with the court's earlier mandate, 6 ELR 20732, in the absence of a denial of a variance request showing that the clause has been impermissibly construed and applied by the Agency. The court similarly rejects the contention that variances from BPT limitations cannot be granted for discharges of toxic pollutants. Deferring to EPA's interpretation of the statute, the court concludes that §301(l), added to the Act in 1977, does not apply to BPT variances.

Counsel for Petitioners Appalachian Power Co. et al.
George C. Freeman Jr., Turner T. Smith Jr., William A. Anderson II, E. Gabriel Smith
Hunton & Williams
707 E. Main St., Richmond VA 23212
(804) 788-8200

Counsel for Petitioner Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
James Taylor Banks, Stephen H. Stephen H. Schroeder
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
1725 I St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 223-8210

Counsel for Respondents
James W. Moorman, Ass't Attorney General; Barry J. Trilling
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2800

Richard G. Stoll, Deputy Assoc. General Counsel; James A. Rogers, Assoc. General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC 20460
(202) 755-0760

Joined by Breitenstein* and Philips, JJ.