Fair v. U.S. E.P.A., No. 85-1882

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore CHOY, Senior Circuit Judge, ALARCON and WIGGINS; CHOY
Citation795 F.2d 851
Decision Date29 July 1986
Docket NumberNo. 85-1882
Parties, 16 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,864 Jewell FAIR, Howard Mann, Ruby McCoy, S.L. McBride, and the Southeast Placer Citizens for Sensible Sewerage, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, EPA Administrator Ruckelshaus, Defendants-Appellees, Placer County, Intervenor.

Page 851

795 F.2d 851
24 ERC 1905, 16 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,864
Jewell FAIR, Howard Mann, Ruby McCoy, S.L. McBride, and the
Southeast Placer Citizens for Sensible Sewerage,
Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, EPA
Administrator Ruckelshaus, Defendants-Appellees,
Placer County, Intervenor.
No. 85-1882.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued June 11, 1986.
Submitted June 25, 1986.
Decided July 29, 1986.

Page 852

Kent B. Seitzinger, Fairs Oaks, Cal., for plaintiffs-appellants.

J. Carol Williams, Washington, D.C., for defendants-appellees.

Lyle D. Rose, Auburn, Cal., for intervenor.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Before CHOY, Senior Circuit Judge, ALARCON and WIGGINS, Circuit Judges.

Page 853

CHOY, Senior Circuit Judge:

Jewell Fair, Howard Mann, Ruby McCoy, S.L. McBride, and the Southeast Placer Citizens for Sensible Sewerage appeal the dismissal of their action against the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), for an allegedly improper grant of federal funds to Placer County ("County") in violation of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1281(g)(5). We find the case to be moot.

FACTS & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The appellants, residents of a sewer assessment district in Placer County, California, challenge an EPA construction grant to the County for partial funding of an interceptor sewer line. The sewer line will connect a sewage treatment plant in Roseville, California with four existing treatment facilities in Placer County. The four existing facilities are being abandoned because the systems are in violation of applicable water quality standards and are subject to cease and desist orders issued by the California Regional Water Quality Board. Prior to the award of the grant, the appellants sought declaratory and injunctive relief in district court. They alleged that the EPA violated the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1281(g), by approving the County's grant application without adequate investigation of innovative and alternative ("I/A") technologies.

At trial, the EPA moved for dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). The district court granted the motion and dismissed the appellants' action.

DISCUSSION

I. Standing

The district court questioned the appellants' standing to bring this action, but ruled on the merits nonetheless, reasoning that the health hazard posed by the currently failing waste water treatment facilities necessitated prompt resolution of the dispute. Because standing is jurisdictional, the issue should not have been avoided below. See Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26, 37-38, 96 S.Ct. 1917, 1923-24, 48 L.Ed.2d 450 (1975) (standing is a constitutional limitation of federal court jurisdiction to actual cases or controversies, and absent a showing of standing, an exercise of federal court power would be inconsistent with Article III limitations).

At an irreducible minimum, Article III requires that the plaintiff show that he has personally suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the defendant's illegal conduct, Gladstone Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 99, 99 S.Ct. 1601, 1607, 60 L.Ed.2d 66 (1979), and that the injury "fairly can be traced to the challenged action" and "is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision," Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. at 38, 41, 96 S.Ct. at 1924, 1925.

The appellants satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement of standing. They allege pecuniary injury as a result of assessments levied to finance construction of the interceptor sewer. They contend that the level of these assessments was directly affected by anticipated federal funding and by EPA approval of the project without adequate investigation of other possibly more cost-effective alternatives. The EPA administrator had the duty to ensure that the County's decision was made after fully considering other I/A...

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26 practice notes
  • Pacific Northwest Generating Co-op. v. Brown, Civ. No. 92-973-MA
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • April 1, 1993
    ...BPA rate formula allocation policy under NWPA), cert. denied ___ U.S. ___, 111 S.Ct. 1682, 114 L.Ed.2d 77 (1991); and Fair v. E.P.A., 795 F.2d 851, 853-4 (9th Cir.1986) (assessments conferred standing upon residents challenging EPA sewer project); Cf. Port of Astoria, Oregon v. Hodel, 595 F......
  • Wilson v. City, No. A123480.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 27, 2011
    ...stay construction pending a decision on its claims, this problem might have been avoided. (See Fair v. United States E.P.A. (9th Cir.1986) 795 F.2d 851, 854-855 [appellants' challenge120 Cal.Rptr.3d 684to construction of sewer became moot on appeal when sewer completed; appellants responsib......
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Patterson, Civ. No. S-88-1658 LKK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • April 30, 1992
    ...on the exercise of jurisdiction. Port of Astoria, Oregon v. Hodel, 595 F.2d 467, 474 (9th Cir.1979). See also Fair v. United States EPA, 795 F.2d 851 (9th A. Injury in Fact Defendants do not argue that plaintiffs have failed to allege sufficient actual injury, nor could they. The complaint ......
  • Central Arizona Water Conservation Dist. v. U.S. E.P.A., No. 91-70731
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • March 25, 1993
    ...emission controls at NGS as required by the Final Rule. Pecuniary injury is clearly "a sufficient basis for standing." See Fair v. EPA, 795 F.2d 851, 853-54 (9th Cir.1986) (citing cases). But while pecuniary or economic injury is generally a legally protected interest, the "injury in fact" ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
26 cases
  • Pacific Northwest Generating Co-op. v. Brown, Civ. No. 92-973-MA
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • April 1, 1993
    ...BPA rate formula allocation policy under NWPA), cert. denied ___ U.S. ___, 111 S.Ct. 1682, 114 L.Ed.2d 77 (1991); and Fair v. E.P.A., 795 F.2d 851, 853-4 (9th Cir.1986) (assessments conferred standing upon residents challenging EPA sewer project); Cf. Port of Astoria, Oregon v. Hodel, 595 F......
  • Wilson v. City, No. A123480.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 27, 2011
    ...stay construction pending a decision on its claims, this problem might have been avoided. (See Fair v. United States E.P.A. (9th Cir.1986) 795 F.2d 851, 854-855 [appellants' challenge120 Cal.Rptr.3d 684to construction of sewer became moot on appeal when sewer completed; appellants responsib......
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Patterson, Civ. No. S-88-1658 LKK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • April 30, 1992
    ...on the exercise of jurisdiction. Port of Astoria, Oregon v. Hodel, 595 F.2d 467, 474 (9th Cir.1979). See also Fair v. United States EPA, 795 F.2d 851 (9th A. Injury in Fact Defendants do not argue that plaintiffs have failed to allege sufficient actual injury, nor could they. The complaint ......
  • Central Arizona Water Conservation Dist. v. U.S. E.P.A., No. 91-70731
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • March 25, 1993
    ...emission controls at NGS as required by the Final Rule. Pecuniary injury is clearly "a sufficient basis for standing." See Fair v. EPA, 795 F.2d 851, 853-54 (9th Cir.1986) (citing cases). But while pecuniary or economic injury is generally a legally protected interest, the "injury in fact" ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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