Costle v. Pacific Legal Foundation

PETITIONER: Costle
RESPONDENT: Pacific Legal Foundation
LOCATION: Aurora, Illinois

DOCKET NO.: 78-1472
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 445 US 198 (1980)
ARGUED: Dec 05, 1979
DECIDED: Mar 18, 1980

ADVOCATES:
Robert K. Best - on behalf of the Respondents
William H. Alsup - for petitioner
William Alsup - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Costle v. Pacific Legal Foundation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 05, 1979 (Part 1) in Costle v. Pacific Legal Foundation
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 05, 1979 (Part 2) in Costle v. Pacific Legal Foundation

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 18, 1980 in Costle v. Pacific Legal Foundation

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Costle, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency against Pacific Legal Foundation will be announced by Mr. Justice Blackmun.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Well, this case comes to us from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

It has to do with Los Angeles discharged of its sewage into the Pacific Ocean.

Under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency, upon specified conditions may issue a permit for the discharge of pollutants.

The permit in fact was issued to the City.

The case centers, however, on the ultimate termination of the Pacific Ocean discharge and the possible alternative deposit of sludge in a landfill site.

The issue was essentially one of the administrative laws and it involves the right to a public hearing and concerns expressed by environmentalist who are opposed to bringing the ocean discharge to an end.

The Court of Appeals held that EPA was required to justify every failure to hold a hearing on a permit action by proof that the material facts supporting the Act and I quote "are not subject to dispute."

We disagree with that conclusion.

And in an opinion filed today, the reasons for our disagreement are set forth at some length. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is therefore reversed.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Blackmun.