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Exxon Corp. v. Train

ELR Citation: 7 ELR 20594
Nos. No. 76-1561, 554 F.2d 1310/10 ERC 1289/(5th Cir., 06/27/1977)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have the power to place conditions that limit waste disposal by injection into wells in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for the discharge of pollutants into surface waters that it issues under §402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments. Finding petitioner's challenge to EPA's failure to modify its permit to allow deep well injection of certain wastes ripe for judicial review, the court rules that an examination of the Act and its legislative history demonstrates that Congress intended to leave control of ground water pollution exclusively to the states pending further studies of the scope and nature of the problem. The EPA Administrator's construction of his authority to regulate deep well injection, although not unreasonable on its face, must therefore give way because it is contrary to congressional intentions. The court notes that its decision will not result in uncontrolled deep well waste disposal because most states already have some method or regulating such discharges.

Counsel for Petitioner
H.H. Hillyer
Milling, Benson, Woodward, Hillyer & Pierson
1122 Whitney Bank Bldg., New Orleans LA 70130
(504) 581-3333

Counsel for Respondents
Lloyd S. Guerci
Pollution Control Section
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2717

Before MORGAN and RONEY, Circuit Judges, and KING, District Judge.*