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Sierra Club v. EPA

Citation: 32 ELR 20738
No. No. 01-1057, 292 F.3d 895/(D.C. Cir., 06/18/2002)

The court holds that an environmental group and a trade association lack standing to challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) hazardous wastewater treatment sludge rule promulgated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The court first holds that the environmental group lacks standing. The parties and the court agree that the interests the group seeks to protect are germane to its purpose and that neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested require an individual member of the group to participate in the lawsuit. However, there is no member of the environmental group that has standing to sue in her own right. Allegations submitted by the group's counsel describing injuries suffered by the group's members due to EPA's rule are not evidence. They concern matters beyond the scope of counsel's personal knowledge and are not sufficient to support standing. Additionally, a list of 28 street addresses, each purportedly that of a member of the group, is insufficient to demonstrate that at least one member of the group lived at the time of the filing and continues to live in a place affected by EPA's rule. Further, maps attached to the counsel's submission depicting that each of the 28 addresses is located within five miles of a facility affected by the rule do not support the proposition that there is substantial probability of actual or imminent injury to the group's members from their residing within five miles of the facility. Similarly, an affidavit from a professor who has studied the issue does not help establish the group's standing to sue. The court next holds that the trade association lacks prudential standing under RCRA. The trade association, which is made up of hazardous waste disposal and cleanup firms, failed to make any attempt to show that Congress intended RCRA to protect interests of its sort, either directly or as a proxy for the environmental interests of the public for which the Act was passed.

Counsel for Petitioners
David R. Case
Environmental Technology Council
734 15th St. NW, Ste. 720, Washington DC 20005
(202) 783-0870

Counsel for Respondent
G. Scott Williams
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Ginsburg, J. Before Randolph and Tatel, JJ.