Union Electric Company v. Environmental Protection Agency

PETITIONER:Union Electric Company
RESPONDENT:Environmental Protection Agency
LOCATION:Missouri State Capitol

DOCKET NO.: 74-1542
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 427 US 246 (1976)
ARGUED: Jan 21, 1976
DECIDED: Jun 25, 1976

Peter R. Taft – for respondent
William H. Ferrell – for petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Union Electric Company v. Environmental Protection Agency

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – January 21, 1976 in Union Electric Company v. Environmental Protection Agency

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – June 25, 1976 in Union Electric Company v. Environmental Protection Agency

Warren E. Burger:

The judgments and opinion in 74-1542 Union Electric Company against Environmental Protection Agency and 75-260 McDonald against Santa Fe Transportation will each be announced by Mr. Justice Marshall.

Thurgood Marshall:

The Union Electric case is here on writ of certiorari in the Court of Appeals with the Eighth Circuit.

The petition is the operator of an emission source regulated by state implementation plan under the Clean Air Act.

And a petition for review of the state plan filed in the court of appeals.

Petitioner claimed that it was economically and technologically impossible for him to comply with the plan.

The Court of Appeals said the petitioner could not raise such a claim and we affirm.

The 1970 amendments to the Clean Air Act were a drastic remedy, to what was perceived as a serious and otherwise uncheckable problem of air pollution.

As the legislative history of the amendments conclusively demonstrates, Congress made the considered judgment that a certain level of clean air was necessary for the health and well being of the people and it determined to force technology to achieve that result.

Thus the amendments require regulated emission sources to meet certain air quality standards with those specific period of time whether compliance of those standards seemed possible or not.

For the reasons stated in opinion filed with the clerk today, we find that this game, there is no room for petitioner to claim the compliances technologically or economically impossible.

According to the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.

Mr. Justice Powell filed a concurring opinion and Mr. Chief Justice joined.