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Environmental Defense Fund v. Thomas

627 F. Supp. 566 (1986)

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Environmental Defense Fund v. Thomas

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

627 F. Supp. 566 (1986)

Facts

Congress enacted amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which regulated the management of hazardous and solid wastes. One of the amendments set a deadline of March 1, 1985, for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promulgate permitting standards for certain underground tanks. Congress explicitly voiced its concern about the EPA meeting timetables for regulations set by Congress in one of the House Committee reports for the amendments, specifically mentioning delay caused by Executive Order 12291. The EPA formulated its regulations as required by statute and sent its proposed permitting regulations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, as required under Executive Order 12291, before promulgating the regulations. OMB commenced its review on March 4, 1985. OMB sought significant substantive changes in the proposed regulations due to a desire to effect a fundamental shift from the EPA’s goal of containing all leaks of waste to a risk-based analysis of which leaks to regulate. OMB approved the regulations after several months of negotiations on June 12, 1985. Prior to OMB’s approval of the regulations, the Environmental Defense Fund (plaintiff) filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on May 30, 1985, to cause Thomas, the EPA Administrator, to promulgate the permitting regulations.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Flannery, J.)

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