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Envirocare of Utah, Inc. v. NRC

Citation: 30 ELR 20143
No. Nos. 98-1426, -1592, 194 F.3d 72/49 ERC 1513/(D.C. Cir., 10/22/1999)

The court upholds two Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) orders that refused on standing grounds a radioactive waste disposal facility's request for hearing and intervention in the licensing proceedings of two competitor disposal facilities. The court first holds that the NRC correctly stated that it was not an Article III court and, therefore, was not bound to follow the law of standing derived from the "case or controversy" requirement. It is, thus, irrelevant that the facility argued its competitor status satisfied the "zone of interests" test for standing. The court next holds that because the Atomic Energy Act provision that requires the NRC to grant a hearing is ambiguous, the NRC's interpretation of the provision is reasonable and must be sustained. The view expressed by the NRC, that competitors asserting economic injury do not demonstrate the type of interest necessary to require a hearing, is a permissible construction of the statute and one that the NRC has adhered to for some time. Finally, the court holds that although the opinions of the NRC in the orders denying the facility permission to intervene were not based on the same reasoning, the court may accept the reasoning from one order as the grounds upon which to dispose of the petition for review of the other order.

Counsel for Petitioner
Richard L. Cys
Davis, Wright & Tremaine
1500 K St. NW, Ste. 450, Washington DC 20005
(202) 508-6600

Counsel for Respondents
E. Leo Slaggie, Deputy Solicitor
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington DC 20530
(301) 492-7000

Before Edwards and Sentelle, JJ.