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Natural Resources Defense Council v. Costle

Citation: 10 ELR 20274
No. No. 79 Civ. 2411, 14 ERC 1858/(S.D.N.Y., 02/04/1980) Partial judgment

Granting plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, the court directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose rules for the testing of 18 "priority" chemicals, as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Section 4 of the statute established the Interagency Testing Committee and directed it to recommend for priority testing substances which meet certain criteria. The Act further requires EPA to establish testing procedures for those substances. The Committee recommended 18 substances for initial testing, but EPA failed to initiate rule-making proceedings for testing regimes, citing administrative difficulties. Plaintiff alleged that EPA violated the Act in failing to comply with a non-discretionary duty to initiate rule making on the priority chemicals. EPA responded that TSCA required no more than progress reports on its efforts to comply with § 4.Ruling that plaintiff satisfies the "injury in fact" test and thus has standing, the court rejects EPA's interpretation of its duty under § 4 of TSCA. Whereas under other provisions of the Act the agency must prepare periodic reports on its implementation of the Act, under § 4 it must support any delay in initiating the required rulemaking proceeding with a statement of reasons. Viewing this requirement as indicative of congressional intent that the § 4 rule making not be delayed, the court orders the Agency to sumit proposed plans to initiate rule-making proceedings on the 18 priority substances recommended for testing by the Committee.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Edward M. Shaw
522 Fifth Ave., New York NY 10036
(212) 869-8985

Ross Sandler
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
122 E. 42d St., New York NY 10036
(212) 949-0049

Counsel for Defendants
Gaines Gwathmey III, Ass't U.S. Attorney; Robert B. Fiske Jr., U.S. Attorney
One St. Andrews Plaza, New York NY 10007
(212) 791-0055

Counsel for Intervenor-Defendant Chemical Mfrs. Ass'n
Edward R. Hughes
Richards & O'Neil
645 Madison Ave., New York NY 10022
(212) 759-2020

Edmund B. Frost, David Forsyth Zoll
Chemical Manufacturers Ass'n
1825 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20009
(202) 328-4200

Peter Barton Hutt, Robert M. Sussman
Covington & Burling
888 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 452-6000

Counsel for Intervenor-Defendant American Petroleum Inst.
Steven B. Rosenfeld, Leslie G. Fagen
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
345 Park Ave., New York NY 10022
(212) 644-8000

Counsel for Intervenor-Defendant Synthetic Organic Chemical Mfrs. Ass'n
Richard deC Hinds, R. Bruce Dickson, William C. Norman III
Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
1250 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 828-3000