GENERAL PUBLIC UTILITIES CORP. v. SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY ALLIANCE
449 U.S. 1096

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U.S. Supreme Court

GENERAL PUBLIC UTILITIES CORP. v. SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY ALLIANCE , 449 U.S. 1096 (1981)

449 U.S. 1096

GENERAL PUBLIC UTILITIES CORPORATION et al.
v.
SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY ALLIANCE et al
No. 80-382

Supreme Court of the United States

January 12, 1981

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice REHNQUIST, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE and Justice POWELL join, dissenting.

In this case the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a private party seeking to compel agency compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 83 Stat. 852, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., need not exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit in Federal District Court. Because I believe that a long series of our cases heretofore regarded as settled law require such exhaustion, e. g., Myers v. Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., 303 U.S. 41 ( 1938), I dissent from the denial of the petition for certiorari and would set the case for argument.

The case arises out of the effort of the Nuclear Regulatory

Page 449 U.S. 1096 , 1097

Commission and petitioners, the owners and operators of Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, to treat and eventually dispose of radioactive wastewater resulting from the respondents commenced this action against the Commission and petitioners, alleging that the Commission had approved petitioners' construction and operation of a facility to decontaminate the radioactive wastewater, known as EPICOR II, and planned to allow the processed water to be discharged in the Susquehanna River. Specifically, respondents alleged that the Commission had failed to prepare an environmental impact statement for the EPICOR II system, in violation of NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4332, and had failed to require petitioners to secure a license or construction permit for the system, in violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, 68 Stat. 919, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq. The complaint also charged that the possible discharge of "high-level radioactive" water into the river would violate both the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), 301(f), 86 Stat. 846, 33 U.S.C. 1311(f), and a federal constitutional right to "be born and to live mentally and physically unimpaired."

The District Court found that respondents had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies under the Atomic Energy Act and dismissed the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. It noted that the administrative remedy available under the Act, 10 CFR 2.206 (1980),1 " allows [449 U.S. 1096 , 1098]


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