Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hazardous Waste Treatment Council v. U.S. EPA case brief

Hazardous Waste Treatment Council v. U.S. EPA case brief summary
886 F.2d 355

SYNOPSIS: Petitioner, Hazardous Waste Treatment Council (council), sought review of respondent Environmental Protection Agency's final "solvents and dioxins" rule that was published pursuant to Congress' mandate in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (Act), 42 U.S.C.S. § 6921-6991, which prohibited land disposal of certain hazardous solvents and wastes containing dioxins except in narrow circumstances defined by the agency's regulations.

FACTS: The agency initially issued a notice of proposed rule-making announcing its draft implementation of the land disposal prohibition for solvents and dioxins. After ten months of receiving public commentary on the draft, the agency published a final rule differing in some respects from its draft approach. Some commenters, including eleven members of Congress whom served as conferees on the 1984 Act amendments, chastised the agency on the ground that the use of screening levels was inconsistent with the intent of the statute. EPA determined that the best response to those comments was to adopt the Best Demonstrated Available Technology (BDAT) standard. The council challenged the agency's adoption of the BDAT standards in preference to the approach it proposed initially on the ground that the regulation was not a reasonable interpretation of the statute. Alternatively, the council argued that the agency did not adequately explain its decision to take the course that it did.

The court held that the agency's rule was not arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to the Act, but remanded the case to the agency to clarify its reasons for adopting the final rule in preference to the proposed rule.

HOLDING: The court held that the agency's final rule was consistent with the Act, but remanded one aspect of the rulemaking to the agency for further explanation.

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