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Jorling v. Department of Energy

Citation: 30 ELR 20617
No. No. 99-6188, 218 F.3d 96/(2d Cir., 05/31/2000)

The court affirms a district court decision holding that hazardous waste regulatory charges imposed by New York on federal installations operated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in New York are reasonable service charges within the meaning of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act § 6001(a), which waives the sovereign immunity of the United States. The court first holds that the district court properly ruled that the waste regulatory charges meet the "fair approximation" component of the test for determining the reasonableness of charges set forth in Massachusetts v. United States, 435 U.S. 444 (1978). The state's method of calculating hazardous waste program charges is reasonably designed to fairly approximate the use of the hazardous waste system's available services, thereby approximating the cost of supplying such services to particular generators of waste or operators of waste facilities. Likewise, the state's method of calculating waste transporter program charges is reasonably designed to fairly approximate use of the state's services and, therefore, roughly approximate the cost of supplying such services to transporters of waste. It does not matter whether or how the state segregates the money it collects. The court next holds that the state's method of imposing charges is reasonable as applied to DOE's facilities. DOE argued that the charges are nine times the costs of the services rendered. DOE's calculation, however, is incorrectly limited to the services used and fails to include services or benefits available for use.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Maureen F. Leary, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
120 Broadway, 25th Fl., New York NY 10271
(212) 416-8050

Counsel for Defendants
John T. Stahr
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Before Kearse and Cabranes, JJ.