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CITIZENS ASSN. OF GEORGETOWN v. WASHINGTON

August 8, 1974

CITIZENS ASSOCIATION OF GEORGETOWN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
WALTER E. WASHINGTON, Commissioner of the District of Columbia, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

 CHARLES R. RICHEY

 I. INTRODUCTION

 This action came on for trial on the merits before the Court sitting without a jury. Plaintiffs, Citizens Association of Georgetown and The Committee of 100 on the Federal City, seek a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief in order to prevent the completion of two buildings in the Georgetown waterfront area of the District of Columbia. The issues presented are whether the corporate Defendants are in violation of an "emission standard or limitation" under the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1857, et seq. (1969), as amended (Supp. 1974), and whether the corporate Defendants' developments will cause a violation of the national ambient air quality standards in 1977. The Court finds that the Plaintiffs failed to show that Defendants are in violation of any "emission standard or limitation" under the Act and further that Plaintiffs failed to prove at trial that Defendants, Georgetown-Inland North Corporation and Maloney Concrete Company, will cause a violation of the national primary ambient air quality standards in 1977 by completing their projects in accordance with existing permits.

 This opinion constitutes the Court's findings of fact and conclusion of law as required by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 52(a).

 II. THE PARTIES

 Plaintiff, Citizens Association of Georgetown, a non-profit group founded in 1878, has a long history of fighting to preserve the historical, scenic, and national values of this city and its environment. It sues here on behalf of its members as well as itself.

 Plaintiff, Committee of 100 on the Federal City, is a non-profit group founded in 1923 which seeks to promote sound land-use planning techniques and, generally, to make the nation's capitol a better place in which to live. It sues on behalf of its members and itself. It alleges that several of its members own property in the Georgetown area and claims that members of the Committee will be seriously injured by the increase in air pollution which will allegedly be produced in the Washington area by the construction of Defendants, Maloney Concrete Company and the Georgetown-Inland Corporation.

 Plaintiffs have standing to prosecute this action since the alleged detriment to their health and the potential loss to Defendants, were Plaintiffs to succeed in this suit, exceed $10,000.

 The local governmental defendants are the Commissioner of the District of Columbia, Walter E. Washington; the Director of the D.C. Department of Economic Development, Julian R. Dugas; and the Acting Director of the D.C. Department of Environmental Services, William C. McKinney. These Defendants have the authority and responsibility under the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. § 1857, et seq.), the District of Columbia Air Pollution Control Act (D.C. Code 6-811, et seq.), and regulations promulgated thereunder, to prepare a comprehensive program to control and prevent air pollution in the District of Columbia.

 The corporate Defendants are the Georgetown-Inland Corporations and the Maloney Concrete Company. The Georgetown-Inland Corporations are five affiliates of Inland Steel Corporation. These corporations have plans over the next five years to construct in three phases an $80 million complex consisting of shops, restaurants, offices, a hotel, and a conference center on a seven-acre site in the Georgetown waterfront area. Among the five Inland affiliates, only Georgetown-Inland North Corporation has a building permit and is in the process of construction. Its building will be all-electric and will contain offices, shops, and a parking garage. The Maloney Concrete Company, a Delaware corporation, is the owner and developer of the Dodge Center, a complex of offices, shops and garage, now under construction in the Georgetown waterfront area.

 III. JURISDICTION OF THIS COURT

 This Court has jurisdiction to hear this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1857h-2(a) and 28 U.S.C. § 1331(a). *fn1" 42 U.S.C. § 1857h-2(a) vests in this Court jurisdiction of " citizen suits" wherein any person is alleged to be in violation of an "emission standard or limitation" under the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1857 et seq. Plaintiffs have alleged in their complaint that construction by the corporate Defendants will preclude the attainment of the national primary ambient air quality standards for the District of Columbia in 1977. This is the precise issue on which the parties went to trial after denial of the Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. Citizens Ass'n of Georgetown v. Washington, 370 F. Supp. 1101 (D.D.C. 1974). Plaintiffs also allege that the corporate defendants are in violation of D.C.R.R. 8-2:720(a) which requires that construction of any "stationary source" of air pollution proceed only upon issuance of an air quality permit. Upon consideration of the Clean Air Act and upon our construction of the Act, we have concluded that Plaintiffs fail to demonstrate that Defendants are in violation of any "emission standard or limitation" as defined by the Clean Air Act. However, this decision calls for a judgment on the merits rather than a dismissal for want of jurisdiction.

 42 U.S.C. § 1857h-2(a) extends federal court jurisdiction to cases not otherwise cognizable, without excluding jurisdiction provided by other provisions. 42 U.S.C. § 1857h-2(e). The importance of § 1857h-2(a) as a jurisdictional provision is that it confers federal jurisdiction over violations of "emission limitations" even if those standards are only proscribed by state or local statutes, if the state or local statute is part of an ...


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