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B & B Tritech, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

957 F.2d 882 (1992)

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B & B Tritech, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

957 F.2d 882 (1992)

Facts

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) set out procedures for identifying and remediating hazardous-waste sites. Under CERCLA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (defendant) had to prepare and update a National Priorities List of sites based on the Hazard Ranking System, a mathematical formula. In 1986 Congress amended CERCLA in the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) to revise the Hazard Ranking System to more accurately assess the risks posed by a site. In 1988 the EPA proposed adding B & B Tritech, Inc. (B & B) (plaintiff) to the National Priorities List based on a score determined under the original Hazard Ranking System formula rather than the new SARA model, which went into effect in 1991. A contamination plume was found in an aquifer underneath the site. The original Hazard Ranking System factored within its targets component the distance to the nearest well and the population served, but it excluded those who do not use water from the aquifer. B & B protested the finding that public wellfields near the site served 750,000 customers, because the regional water authority no longer used the fields as a source and only pumped the water as needed to maintain the equipment. B & B also protested the listing because water authority drew water from deep within the aquifer and the contamination was mostly limited to the shallow layer. The EPA responded that there were trace amounts of contamination in the deep layer that entered distribution from the limited pumping. The EPA retained the score and listed the site in 1990. B & B sought review of the listing.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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