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Chemical Specialties Mfrs. Ass'n v. EPA

Citation: 10 ELR 20430
No. No. 77-1938, 484 F. Supp. 513/14 ERC 2103/(D.D.C., 02/08/1980)

The court affirms the legality of an interpretive memorandum issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) setting forth its view as to the nature of information required to be reported by registrants of pesticides under § 6(a)(2) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The statutory requirement that registrants submit all newly discovered information bearing on whether a substance poses unreasonable adverse effects on the environment does not leave the determination of reasonableness to the registrant but entrusts it to EPA. Thus, registrants may now withhold information disclosing effects that, in their opinion, are insignificant. Data regarding the benefits of pesticides, however, need not be reported because they do not affect the Agency's decision as to whether to regulate a particular registered pesticide more strictly. Since the § 6(a)(2) reporting requirement extends to all factual data in the possession of the registrant, it includes information that is not scientifically convincing and thus perhaps misleading, but it does not require submission of expert opinion. The court rejects plaintiffs' argument that the memorandum is invalid for lack of notice and comment pursuant to § 4 of the Administrative Procedure Act, deeming the memo to be an interpretive rule and thus explicitly exempt from the provision's notice and comment requirement. The court adds that since the memo does not enlarge the rights or obligations of registrants beyond the requirements of § 6(a)(2), plaintiffs lack standing to bring this action.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
John D. Conner, Robert L. Ackerly, Kenneth W. Weinstein
Sellers, Conner & Cuneo
1625 K St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 452-7000

Counsel for Defendants
Patrick Cafferty
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-3767