Chemical Manufacturers Association v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

870 F.2d 177 (1989)

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Chemical Manufacturers Association v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

870 F.2d 177 (1989)

Facts

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (defendant) issued regulations under the mandate of the Clean Water Act limiting the discharge of pollutants into navigable waterways by manufacturers of organic chemicals, plastics, and synthetic fibers (OCPSF). These regulations included standards for new point sources of pollution. Specifically, the EPA based the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) on the best practicable technology (BPT) standard for conventional pollutants and on the best available technology (BAT) standard for toxic discharges. The standards set for new point sources of pollution for certain categories of chemical manufacturing were the same as the standards for existing plants. The Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) sued the EPA, alleging procedural and substantive defects in the new rules. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (plaintiff) intervened in the case and challenged the regulations on grounds that the EPA failed to require a sufficiently high standard for regulating new sources of pollution. The NRDC asserted that the EPA should have considered better control technologies than those meeting BAT and BPT standards in determining the standards for new sources of pollution. Specifically, the NRDC alleged that the EPA failed to consider recycling, which the NRDC noted was used in 36 OCPSF plants to achieve zero discharge. The EPA claimed that it considered technologies other than BAT and BPT and determined that no technologies had been demonstrated to achieve greater effluent reduction than BPT and BAT. The EPA did not consider the use of recycling before promulgating the new rules.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rubin, Garza, King, J.J.)

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