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Train v. City of New York

Significance

That despite a presidential veto of the sum of moneys to be disbursed to states, the EPA was required to disburse the maximum allotments set forth in the Congressional Amendments to the Water Pollution Control Act.

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act was designed to help mitigate water pollution around the country. In 1972 the act was amended to provide financial assistance to states for improvements made to their sewers and sewage treatment plants. For this purpose, section 207 of the amendments designated maximum amounts of 5 million dollars and 6 million dollars to be allocated for fiscal years 1973 and 1974 respectively. The administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency was responsible for disbursing these funds according to a schedule set forth in section 205 (a) of the amendments. Congress passed the Amendments on 4 October 1972 and President Richard Nixon vetoed them on 17 October 1972. Even though Congress overrode the veto, President Nixon wrote a letter to the EPA administrator directing him to disburse only 2 million dollars and 3 million dollars for fiscal years 1973 and 1974 respectively.

When the administrator abided by the president's directive, the city of New York filed a class action suit seeking the 5 million dollar and 6 million dollar maximums due the municipality according to the Congressional Amendments. The city of New York brought their case before the District Court of the District of Columbia. A motion by the EPA to dismiss the suit was denied in May of 1973. After the district court granted the city of New York a summary judgment, the court of appeals found that the Water Pollution Control Act "requires the Administrator to allot the full sums authorized to be appropriated" according to section 207 of the amendments. Administrator Train promptly asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Train v. City of New York - Significance, Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari, The Environmental Protection Agency