HARRISON V. PPG INDUSTRIES, INC., 446 U. S. 578 (1980)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Harrison v. PPG Industries, Inc., 446 U.S. 578 (1980)

Harrison v. PPG Industries, Inc.

No. 78-1918

Argued January 16, 1980

Decided May 27, 1980

446 U.S. 578


As authorized by the Clean Air Act (Act), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided, on the basis of correspondence with respondents, that certain equipment at a power generating facility of respondent PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG), was subject to certain "new source" performance standards regarding air pollution that had been promulgated by the EPA Administrator. PPG then filed a petition in the Court of Appeals for review of the EPA's decision under § 307(b)(1) of the Act, which provides for direct review in a federal court of appeals of certain locally and regionally applicable actions taken by the Administrator under specifically enumerated provisions of the Act, and of "any other final action of the Administrator under [the] Act . . . which is locally or regionally applicable." Because of its uncertainty as to the proper forum for judicial review, PPG also filed suit for injunctive relief against the Administrator in a Federal District Court, which suit was stayed pending the disposition of the present case. The Court of Appeals dismissed PPG's petition for lack of jurisdiction under § 307(b)(1).

Held: The phrase "any other final action" in § 307(b)(1) is to be construed in accordance with its literal meaning so as to reach any action of the Administrator that is final, not just final actions of the Administrator similar to actions under the specifically enumerated provisions that precede the catchall phrase in the statute. Pp. 446 U. S. 586-594.

(a) The rule of ejusdem generis does not apply to § 307(b)(1) so as to limit "any other final action" to actions similar to those under the specifically enumerated provisions on the theory that the latter actions (unlike the Administrator's informal decision here) must be based on administrative proceedings reflecting at least notice and opportunity for a hearing. At least one of the specifically enumerated provisions in § 307(b)(1) does not require the Administrator to act only after notice and opportunity for a hearing, and thus, even if the rule of ejusdem generis were applied, it would not significantly narrow the ambit of "any other final action" under § 307(b)(1). Moreover,

Page 446 U. S. 579

the rule of ejusdem generis is only an instrumentality for ascertaining the correct meaning of words when there is uncertainty, and the phrase "any other final action" offers no indication whatever that Congress intended such a limiting construction of § 307(b)(1). Pp. 446 U. S. 587-589.

(b) Nothing in the legislative history supports a conclusion that the phrase "any other final action" in § 307(b)(1) means anything other than what it says, or that Congress did not intend the phrase to enlarge the jurisdiction of the courts of appeals to include the review of case based on an administrative record reflecting less than notice and an opportunity fr a hearing. Pp. 446 U. S. 589-59.

(c) The argument that, as a matter of policy, the basic purpose of § 307(b)(1) -- to provide prompt preenforcement review of EPA action -- would be better served by providing in cases such as this for review in a district court, rather than a court of appeals, is an argument to be addressed to Congress, not to this Court. Pp. 446 U. S. 592-594.

587 F.2d 237, reversed and remanded.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BRENNAN, WHITE, MARSHALL, and POWELL, JJ., joined. POWELL, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 446 U. S. 594. BLACKMUN, J., filed an opinion concurring in the result, post, p. 446 U. S. 595. REHNQUIST, J., post, p. 446 U. S. 595, and STEVENS, J., post, p. 446 U. S. 602, filed dissenting opinions.

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