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The Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq., is also part of the relevant legal landscape. Most pertinent here are those sections that combine to describe the procedures for formal administrative adjudications. See id. §§ 554, 556, 557. These procedures apply 'in every case of adjudication required by statute to be determined on the record after opportunity for an agency hearing.' Id. § 554(a). The APA does not directly address whether these procedures apply when a statute simply calls for an 'opportunity for public hearing' without any specific indication that the hearing should be 'on the record.'


In Seacoast, the court interpreted 'public hearing' (as used in sections 402(a) and 316(a) of the CWA(Clean Water Act)) to mean 'evidentiary hearing'-in other words, a hearing that comports with the APA's requirements for a formal adjudication. 572 F.2d at 878. Examining the legislative history of the APA, the court adopted a presumption that 'unless a statute otherwise specifies, an adjudicatory hearing subject to judicial review must be [an evidentiary hearing] on the record.' Id. at 877. Applying that presumption to the CWA, the court concluded that 'the statute certainly does not indicate that ...

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