Harrison v. PPG Industries, Inc.

RESPONDENT: PPG Industries, Inc.
LOCATION: Superior Court of San Diego

DOCKET NO.: 78-1918
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 446 US 578 (1980)
ARGUED: Jan 16, 1980
DECIDED: May 27, 1980

Charles F. Lettow - on behalf of the Respondents
Maryann Walsh - on behalf of Petitioners

Facts of the case


Media for Harrison v. PPG Industries, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 16, 1980 in Harrison v. PPG Industries, Inc.

Warren E. Burger:

Ms. Walsh, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Maryann Walsh:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

This Court is quite familiar with the complexities of the Clean Air Act.

In 1977 Congress substantially amended the Act, including the judicial review provisions of section 307(b)(1).

That section now gives original jurisdiction--to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the administrative actions under certain enumerated sections of the Act and other final actions which have nationwide application or effect.

The regional Courts of Appeal are given original jurisdiction over other enumerated sections of the Act and "any other final action of the Administrator under the Act" of local or State-wide effect or application.

We contend, EPA does, that section 307(b)(1) means exactly what it says, that the Courts of Appeal have original jurisdiction to review all action, all final actions by the Administrator taken under the Act and to explain this interpretation first --

Potter Stewart:

That is to the exclusion of District Courts, your position is.

Maryann Walsh:

Yes, Your Honor; right.

Except for the provision under the citizens' supervision under section 304, right; yes.

Warren E. Burger:

Does the legislative history reveal whether the authors of that amendment, all others, had any idea of the scope of its impact?

Maryann Walsh:

To some extent admittedly the legislative history on section 307(b)(1) in --

Warren E. Burger:

It isn't very helpful, is it?

Maryann Walsh:

It is not extremely helpful but it is not unhelpful either, Your Honor.

It is obvious that Congress was most concerned with and addressed the problem of allocating venue between the Courts of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the regional Courts of Appeals.

Congress did indicate however that they were placing review of all rules and orders of regional, Statewide or local application with the regional Courts of Appeals.

And this was an expansion of the jurisdiction under the 1977 Amendments.

Another significant fact is that the House bill that the House Report that this legislative history is in was addressing, at that point the only amendment to what had been the prior section 307(b)(1) was the "any other final action" language.

So the legislative history was addressing that addition to section 307(b)(1).

So limited as the legislative history is, it does indicate that Congress was aware of an expansion of jurisdiction.

I would like to discuss the particular final action involved in this case and then explain why our interpretation is the most manageable, practical and efficient way of interpreting section 307(b)(1).

In August 1971, the Administrator promulgated proposed new source performance standards for stationary sources, which included emission limitations for sulfur dioxides.

The statute at that time -- and it still does, as amended defines new stationary sources to include sources which were modified or constructed after the date of the proposed regulations.

And stationary sources were also defined to include fossil fuel-fired steam generating plants such as PPG has at its Lake Charles, Louisiana facility.

Now, in May 1975 EPA wrote PPG and asked that PPG provide additional -- not additional, but provide information as to the operation of its facility and what was included on the possibility that the new source performance standards might be applicable to the Louisiana facility.

In May and in June of that year PPG responded with their interpretation of whether the new source performance standards would apply or not.

They provided detailed diagrams of their facility, purchase order as to when the different parts of the facility, because only one section of the overall facility, chemical manufacturing facility was particularly involved, purchase orders for those parts of it.

In October of 1976 EPA concluded that the new source performance standards would be applicable to the facility because of the construction date, the date construction had commenced after the date of the proposed regulations.

PPG requested a reconsideration of that and submitted additional material.

A meeting was later held between PPG officials and EPA representatives and EPA concluded that its original determination was still in fact in effect.