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Missouri v. United States

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 21204
Nos. 4:94CV01288, 918 F. Supp. 1320/42 ERC 1363/(E.D. Mo., 02/05/1996)

The court holds that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not violate the U.S. Constitution's Tenth Amendment or Spending Clause by imposing Clean Air Act (CAA) offset and highway sanctions against Missouri for its failure to properly implement its state implementation plan (SIP). The court first holds that the district court has subject matter jurisdiction. CAA §307(b)(1) must not be read so broadly as to divest district courts of jurisdiction and give it exclusively to the courts of appeals. The court next holds that the state's claims that federal highway-funds sanctions and offset sanctions violate the Tenth Amendment are ripe for review. The offset sanction currently applies and the highway-funds sanctions are imminent. Federal defendants may not argue that the state's compliance with the CAA prevents the court from hearing the state's claim that the CAA is unconstitutional. The court also holds that the state's claim that the highway-funds sanction facially violates the Spending Clause because it is not rationally related to highway spending's purpose is ripe for review. The claim presents purely legal issues and may be decided immediately. The court next holds, however, that the state's claim that the highway-funds sanction violates the Spending Clause as applied because it is unduly coercive is not ripe for review. The sanctions would not necessarily apply to all federal highway funds, because the Federal Highway Administration exempts environmentally beneficial projects. The court holds that offset and highway-funds sanctions do not violate the Tenth Amendment. The federal government may, under its constitutionally enumerated powers, encourage state participation while offering states the alternative of submitting and implementing SIPs or having their nonattainment area's air-pollution sources subject to a 2:1 offset ratio. The court further holds that the highway-funds sanction does not exceed Congress' spending power. A sufficient relationship exists between the conditions imposed and the federal expenditure at issue. Congress passed the CAA, in part, to stop air pollution brought about by increased motor vehicle use, and environmental goals and goals related to clean air are further reflected in the highway-funding provisions. Congress reasonably decided to condition federal highway funding on state submission and implementation of acceptable SIP and SIP revisions.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Eric T. Tolen, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
1114 Market St., Rm. 401, St. Louis MO 63101
(314) 539-3280

Counsel for Defendants
Ronald M. Spritzer
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000