TRAIN V. CITY OF NEW YORK, 420 U. S. 35 (1975)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Train v. City of New York, 420 U.S. 35 (1975)

Train v. City of New York

No. 73-1377

Argued November 12, 1974

Decided February 18, 1975

420 U.S. 35


The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 provide a comprehensive program for controlling and abating water pollution. Title II of these Amendments makes available federal financial assistance for municipal sewers and sewage treatment works. Section 207 of Title II authorizes the appropriation of "not to exceed" specified amounts for each of three fiscal years, and § 205(a) provides that the "[s]ums authorized to be appropriated pursuant to [§ 207] . . . shall be allotted by the Administrator" of the Environmental Protection Agency. The President directed the Administrator not to allot among the States § 207's maximum amounts, but instead to allot no more than $2 billion of the $5 billion authorized for fiscal year 1973, and no more than $3 billion of the $6 billion authorized for fiscal year 1974, and the Administrator complied with this directive. Thereupon, respondent city of New York brought this class action seeking a declaratory judgment that the Administrator was obligated to allot to the States the full amounts authorized by § 207 for fiscal years 1973 and 1974, and an order directing him to make those allotments. The District Court granted the respondents' motion for summary judgment, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that "the Act requires the Administrator to allot the full sums authorized to be appropriated in § 207."

Held: The 1972 Amendments do not permit the Administrator to allot to the States under § 205(a) less than the entire amounts authorized to be appropriated by § 207. Pp. 420 U. S. 42-49.

(a) That § 205(a) directs the allotment of only "sums" -- not "all sums," as originally provided when the legislation went to Conference -- and that the Conference Committee added the "not to exceed" qualifying language to § 207, which authorized the appropriation of specific amounts for the three fiscal years, show no congressional intention of giving the Executive discretionary control

Page 420 U. S. 36

over the rate of allotments under the Title II programs. The "not to exceed" qualifying language in § 207 has meaning of its own, apart from § 205(a), and reflects the realistic possibility that approved applications for grants from funds already allotted would not total the maximum amount authorized to be appropriated. And the word "sums" has no different meaning, and can be ascribed no different function in the context of § 20(a), than would the words "all sums." Pp. 420 U. S. 42-46.

(b) The modified position taken by petitioner in this Court that §§ 205(a) and 207 merely give the Administrator discretion as to the timing of expenditures, not as to the ultimate amounts to be allotted and obligated, as was urged in the lower courts, does not alter this Court's conclusion. The Administrator's power to allot under § 205(a) extends only to "sums" authorized to be appropriated under § 207, since, even assuming some sort of power in the Executive to control outlays under the Act, the legislative history indicates that the power to control was to be exercised at the obligation phase, rather than the allotment stage, of the process. Pp. 420 U. S. 46-49.

161 U.S.App.D.C. 114, 494 F.2d 1033, affirmed.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BRENNAN, STEWART, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., concurred in the result.

Page 420 U. S. 37

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