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In re Chevron Michigan LLC of Traverse City, Michigan

Case Number:UIC Appeal No. 12-01
ELR Citation:43 ELR 41366

Ms. Norma Petrie petitions the Environmental Appeals Board (“Board”) to review a Class II Underground Injection Control final permit that the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 (“Region”) issued to Chevron Michigan, LLC of Traverse City, Michigan (“Chevron”) on August 20, 2012, pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 300f to 300j-26. The permit authorizes Chevron to drill and operate an injection well to be used for noncommercial brine disposal from production wells owned or operated by Chevron in Antrim County, Michigan. Ms. Petrie filed her petition on September 28, 2012, thirty-nine days after the Region issued its final permit decision.

According to the administrative record, the Region issued a document addressing Ms. Petrie’s comments on the draft permit on August 21, 2012, one day after it had issued the final permit decision. The record also indicates that the Region issued four other letters responding to different commenters: one was dated the same day as the response to Ms. Petrie’s comments and three were dated August 15, 2012, five days before the Region issued its final permit decision.

Ms. Petrie’s assertions, the Region’s responses, and the administrative record that was certified by the Region raise three issues for resolution. First, was Ms. Petrie’s petition timely filed? Second, should the Board remand the permit because the administrative record fails to demonstrate that the Region complied fully with the procedural requirements of 40 C.F.R. §§ 124.17 and 124.18? Third, did Ms. Petrie provide sufficient specificity for her substantive claims to warrant review of those claims?

Held: The Board remands the final permit decision because the certified administrative record fails to demonstrate that the Region complied completely with §§ 124.17 and 124.18, which require the Agency decision maker to consider public comments with an open mind and to base permit decisions on the administrative record. The Board denies review of all other issues raised by the petition.