Case: Yankton Sioux Tribe v. EPA

4:96-cv-04268 | U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota

Filed Date: Sept. 17, 1996

Closed Date: 1998

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On September 17, 1996, The Yankton Sioux Tribe petitioned the District Court of South Dakota for judicial review of a final decision of Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to grant the Southern Missouri Waste Management District’s (“District”) request to waive the composite liner requirement for a municipal solid waste landfill facility under construction on non-Indian land within the reservation. The Tribe’s complaint alleged that the EPA’s actions were arbitrary and capricious and that th…

On September 17, 1996, The Yankton Sioux Tribe petitioned the District Court of South Dakota for judicial review of a final decision of Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to grant the Southern Missouri Waste Management District’s (“District”) request to waive the composite liner requirement for a municipal solid waste landfill facility under construction on non-Indian land within the reservation.

The Tribe’s complaint alleged that the EPA’s actions were arbitrary and capricious and that the decision was inconsistent with the Agency’s own regulations. The Tribe alleged that the EPA’s regulations required the State and not the owner/operator - the District - to review and approve an alternative design. The Tribe requested that the Court find that the EPA’s interpretation of its regulation was invalid.

On June 14, 1995, in another case, the District Court of South Dakota required the District to install a composite liner in its facility for three reasons: (1) the EPA had not made a final decision on the applications submitted to it by the State of South Dakota and the Yankton Sioux Tribe, (2) a federal regulation required installation of a composite liner, and (3) at trial the District offered to construct the facility with a composite liner. 890 F.Supp. 878. The District did not appeal the Court's Order and Judgment requiring the composite liner.

Rather, in September 1995, District officials and members of the District's engineering firm, through the assistance of South Dakota's congressional delegation, arranged a meeting in Washington, D.C. with an EPA Administrator to seek an administrative waiver of the composite liner requirement. At the meeting, the District stated that the composite liner would result in substantial additional cost to be borne by a rural population. Both South Dakota senators attended the meeting to express their concerns.

A few weeks after the Washington meeting, the District asked the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources to submit an application to the EPA seeking a waiver to the composite liner requirement. The District submitted its own application to the EPA seeking a waiver to composite liner requirement.

Interested parties met on November 27, 1995, to hear EPA’s tentative decision to waive the composite liner requirement. The Tribe’s counsel notified EPA that it believed the Agency lacked statutory authority to grant a waiver and counsel’s belief that the agency reached its decision as a result of political pressure.

On January 24, 1996, the EPA held public hearings to take comments on the Agency’s tentative decision allowing the waiver. Tribal members, environmental activists, and some community members opposed the decision, but the majority of comments submitted were in support of the decision.

On June 26, 1996, the EPA issued its final decision granting the District’s application for the waiver of the composite liner requirement.

The Court issued its review on December 11, 1996. Judge Piersol held that: (1) the EPA's interpretation of the statute to allow the District (the owner/operator) to submit the waiver request was an error; (2) under statutes authorizing site-specific regulations, the EPA could issue a legislative rule that allowed the District to petition the Agency directly; (3) the waiver procedure complied with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); and (4) the decision was adequately supported by scientific evidence in administrative record. The court ruled for the EPA and affirmed the Agency’s grant of the waiver to the District. 950 F.Supp. 1471.

The plaintiffs appealed the decision on January 2, 1997, which was consolidated with two other appeals (96-4268; 94-4217). On March 2, 1998, the appellate court dismissed the appeal.

Summary Authors

Mary Kate Sickel (12/2/2018)

People


Judge(s)

Piersol, Lawrence L. (South Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Abourezk , James G. (South Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gaumer, Craig Peyton (South Dakota)

Gordon, Andrew (District of Columbia)

Levin, Joshua M (District of Columbia)

McGraw, Jack (Colorado)

Schiffer, Lois J (District of Columbia)

Schreier, Karen E (South Dakota)

Speicher, Thomas A (Colorado)

Ulrich, Bonnie P. (South Dakota)

Judge(s)

Piersol, Lawrence L. (South Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Abourezk , James G. (South Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gaumer, Craig Peyton (South Dakota)

Gordon, Andrew (District of Columbia)

Levin, Joshua M (District of Columbia)

McGraw, Jack (Colorado)

Schiffer, Lois J (District of Columbia)

Schreier, Karen E (South Dakota)

Speicher, Thomas A (Colorado)

Ulrich, Bonnie P. (South Dakota)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

April 10, 1998 Docket

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT: Petition for review of final decision of the Environmental Protection Agency; 4 summons(es) issued handed to Bobbi Rasmussen (DLS) (Entered: 09/18/1996)

Sept. 17, 1996

FILING FEE PAID: on 9/17/96 in the amount of $ 120.00, receipt # 11933. (DLS) (Entered: 09/18/1996)

Sept. 17, 1996
2

CIVIL COVER SHEET (DLS) (Entered: 09/18/1996)

Sept. 17, 1996
3

NOTICE of Petition for review of the environmental protection agency by petitioner Yankton Sioux Tribe, petitioner Darrell E. Drapeau (DLS) (Entered: 09/18/1996)

Sept. 17, 1996
4

ORDER directing that EPA to fjile and serve answer or otherwise plead within 20 days after service; upone receipt of respondent's pleading the Court will enter an Order further directing the parties; the Clerk is directed to serve a copy of order on counsel for this action and on counsel in CIV94−4217 Yankton Sioux Tribe, et al vs. Southern Missouri Recycling and Waste Management District and the State of South Dakota by Lawrence L. Piersol (cc:all counsel, Robin L. Zephier, Michael H. Scarmon, Kenneth W. Cotton, Roxanne Giedd, John P. Guhin, and Charles D. McGuigan) (DLS) (Entered: 09/18/1996)

Sept. 18, 1996
5

AMENDED Petition for review of final decision of the Environmental Protection Agency [1−1] by petitioner Yankton Sioux Tribe, petitioner Darrell E. Drapeau (SKM) (Entered: 09/26/1996)

Sept. 26, 1996
6

ANSWER by respondent EPA to amended petition [5−1] (DLS) (Entered: 10/10/1996)

Oct. 9, 1996
7

ORDER by Lawrence L. Piersol that respondent will provide Court 20 days after service of this Order, a certified copy of entire administrative recordof the 6/26/96 decision of EPA, Region VIII; parties are not to engage in discovery without prior approval of the Court; upon receipt of administrative record, Court will enter Order directing parties as necessary; Clerk is directed to serve copy of this Order upon counsel for parties in this action and also counsel in CIV94−4217. (cc:all counsel) (LMZ) (Entered: 10/15/1996)

Oct. 11, 1996
8

UNOPPOSED APPLICATION by respondent EPA for entry of Briefing Schedule and Scheduling Conference (LMZ) (Entered: 10/15/1996)

Oct. 11, 1996
9

SUBMISSION of Certified Administrative Record by respondent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (received one box containing two VCR tapes, and 8 volumes of administrative record) (JMM) (Entered: 11/06/1996)

Nov. 5, 1996
10

ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Bonnie Ulrich for respondent EPA ; attorney Bonnie P. Ulrich added (JMM) (Entered: 11/06/1996)

Nov. 5, 1996
11

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by respondent EPA (DLS) (Entered: 11/06/1996)

Nov. 6, 1996
12

ORDER by Lawrence L. Piersol setting hearing for oral argument at 11:00 12/3/96 (cc:all counsel) (DLS) (Entered: 11/13/1996)

Nov. 12, 1996
13

ORDER by Lawrence L. Piersol setting hearing for oral argument at 11:00 12/4/96 (cc:all counsel) (SLL) (Entered: 11/18/1996)

Nov. 15, 1996
14

MOTION to extend page length in memorandum in support of motion for summary judgment by respondent EPA (DLS) (Entered: 11/20/1996)

Nov. 19, 1996
14

MEMORANDUM by respondent EPA in support of motion to extend page length in memorandum in support of motion for summary judgment [14−1] (DLS) (Entered: 11/20/1996)

Nov. 19, 1996
15

ORDER by Lawrence L. Piersol granting motion to extend page length in memorandum in support of motion for summary judgment [14−1] (cc:all counsel) (DLS) (Entered: 11/21/1996)

Nov. 20, 1996
16

BRIEF by petitioner Yankton Sioux Tribe in support of Petition for Review and in Opposition to Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment [5−1] (LMZ) Modified on 12/02/1996 (Entered: 12/02/1996)

Dec. 2, 1996
17

MOTION for summary judgment by respondent EPA (LMZ) (Entered: 12/02/1996)

Dec. 2, 1996
18

MEMORANDUM by respondent EPA in support of motion for summary judgment [17−1] (LMZ) (Entered: 12/02/1996)

Dec. 2, 1996
19

STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS as to which there is no genuine dispute by respondent EPA in support of its Motion for Summary Judgment [17−1] (LMZ) (Entered: 12/02/1996)

Dec. 2, 1996
20

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by respondent EPA (LMZ) (Entered: 12/02/1996)

Dec. 2, 1996
21

OBJECTIONS by petitioner Yankton Sioux Tribe, petitioner Darrell E. Drapeau to statement of material facts on support of respondent's motion for summary judgment [19−1] (DLS) (Entered: 12/04/1996)

Dec. 4, 1996
22

MINUTES RE: oral argument hearing before the Hon. Lawrence L. Piersol, District Judge, Sioux Falls (DLS) (Entered: 12/05/1996)

Dec. 4, 1996
24

JUDGMENT in favor of EPA and against Yankton Sioux Tribe, Darrell E. Drapeau by Lawrence L. Piersol; granting motion for summary judgment [17−1] terminating case 1996 SDOB page # 427; (cc: all counsel) (DLS) (Entered: 12/12/1996)

Dec. 11, 1996
25

NOTICE OF APPEAL by petitioner Yankton Sioux Tribe, petitioner Darrell E. Drapeau from [24−2] , Appeal fee pd − cc: all counsel, Ct Rptr (JMM) (Entered: 01/03/1997)

Jan. 2, 1997

TRANSMITTING Notice of Appeal to 8th Circuit COA (JMM) (Entered: 01/03/1997)

Jan. 3, 1997
26

REQUEST by petitioner Yankton Sioux Tribe, petitioner Darrell E. Drapeau for transcript (DLS) Modified on 01/15/1997 (Entered: 01/14/1997)

Jan. 13, 1997

NOTIFICATION by Circuit Court of Appellate Docket Number 97−1145SDSF (DLS) (Entered: 01/21/1997)

Jan. 21, 1997
27

COPY OF ORDER from 8th Circuit COA granting in part appellants' motion to consolidate cases CIV96−4268 & CIV94−4217 for submission to the court. They will be briefed separtely. Should oral argument be granted, the cses will be argued and submitted to the same panel on the same day. (DLS) (Entered: 01/21/1997)

Jan. 21, 1997
28

TRANSCRIPT of Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment held on 12/4/96 [22−1] (in expando) (FE) (Entered: 02/20/1997)

Feb. 19, 1997
29

MANDATE from 8th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissing the appeal [25−1] (cc: all counsel) (JMM) (Entered: 03/03/1998)

March 2, 1998

RECEIVED Transcript of Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment from COA (FE) (Entered: 04/10/1998)

April 10, 1998

State / Territory: South Dakota

Case Type(s):

Environmental Justice

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 17, 1996

Closing Date: 1998

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Yankton Sioux Tribe.

Plaintiff Type(s):

State Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Environmental Protection Agency, Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Sanitation/Public Works

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Groundwater

Type of Facility:

Non-government for profit