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Foundation on Economic Trends v. Thomas

Citation: 17 ELR 21149
No. No. 86-1590, 661 F. Supp. 713/25 ERC 1431/(D.D.C., 12/22/1986)

The court holds that plaintiffs, a private nonprofit organization and its president, do not have standing to challenge the manner in which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the release of genetically engineered pesticides into the environment under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The court holds that the individual plaintiff lacks standing to assert his claim that EPA's refusal to promulgate financial responsibility standards for persons who release such pesticides injures his use and enjoyment of the environmental resources of the United States. Although plaintiff's allegations meet the causation and redressability requirements for standing, his asserted injury is purely hypothetical. Plaintiff fails to allege that a release by a financially irresponsible party, or any release at all, will occur in the absence of judicial action. Plaintiff also fails to specify how such a release would harm the environment, whether such harm would actually affect that part of the environment used by plaintiff, how the harm would interfere with plaintiff's use and enjoyment of the environment, and whether releases will even be allowed by EPA under its current review process. The court next holds that plaintiff organization lacks standing to assert its claim that EPA's failure to require applicants for FIFRA experimental use permits to provide information about their liability insurance coverage hinders plaintiff's educational and advocacy activities by depriving it of important information. An interest in this information is not arguably within the zone of interests to be protected or regulated by FIFRA, and therefore neither plaintiff organization nor the individual plaintiff has standing based on this informational interest. Finally, the court holds that plaintiffs' claims are not ripe. Judicial review requires a more concrete factual setting, and plaintiffs failed to show sufficient hardship to warrant immediate adjudication.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Edward Lee Rogers
1718 P St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 387-1600

Counsel for Defendant
Carl Strass
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2682