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Zemansky v. EPA

ELR Citation: 16 ELR 20862
Nos. No. A81-274 CIV, 24 ERC 1447/(D. Alaska, 04/07/1986)

The court holds that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) duty under Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) §309(a)(3) to initiate enforcement proceedings against placer miners in violation of national pollutant discharge elimination system permits is discretionary. The court first rules that a citizen suit under FWPCA §505(a)(2) against EPA to compel enforcement is unavailable unless EPA has a non-discretionary duty. The court then holds that it is appropriate to defer to EPA's interpretation the §309 imposes only a discretionary duty. The legislative history of §309 is ambiguous and, in addition, this is the majority view.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Saul Friedman
Hedland, Fleischer & Friedman
Suite 400, 1016 W. 6th Ave., Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 279-5528

Counsel for Defendants
Michael R. Spaan, U.S. Attorney
Federal Bldg. & U.S. Cthse., 701 C St., Room C-252, Mail Box 9, Anchorage AK 99513
(907) 271-5071

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Intervenors
Eric Smith
Trustees for Alaska
725 Christensen Dr., Suite 4, Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 276-4244