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Source and Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

Clean Water Action et al. v. EPA et al


Clean Water Action et al. v. EPA et al.(5th Cir. Aug. 28, 2019): A 3 judge appellate panel declined review of EPA’s 2017 “Postponement Rule.” The rule postponed the earliest compliance dates for parts of a 2015 rule limiting how much toxic metal could be discharged by 2 types of waste streams (flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport water) produced by certain power plants.  A consortium of environmental groups sought review of the Postponement Rule challenging EPA’s statutory authority to issue it. The court held the Postponement Rule was a narrow reconsideration of compliance dates that potentially imposed needless compliance costs, which EPA substantiated through notice-and-comment rule making. Most elements of the prior rule remained intact. Further, EPA was: (i) statutorily authorized to pass the rule; (ii) had provided a reasoned basis for its decision; and (iii) implementing the rule was reasonable and not arbitrary or capricious. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – November 15, 2019.

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