Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

W.R. Grace & Co.—Conn. v. EPA

ELR Citation: 22 ELR 21058
Nos. No. 91-1601, 959 F.2d 360/34 ERC 1649/(1st Cir., 03/23/1992)

The court holds that a chemical company's challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) denial of the company's petition for review of a corrective action permit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is not ripe for review. EPA issued the permit to the company in 1989 requiring the company to investigate and, if necessary, remedy releases of potentially hazardous waste at its facility in Nashua, New Hampshire. The procedure for modifying such permits allows EPA to unilaterally reject and revise the company's proposals for investigative work. The court first holds that the company's RCRA and constitutional due process claims are not ripe for review. EPA has not yet revised or rejected a single submission from the company. The court cannot rule that the company would be entitled to judicial or administrative review whenever EPA revised one of the company's submissions over the company's objection. The court next holds that the issue presented in the case is not a purely legal one that is as fully developed as it would be if it were raised in the future. The court further holds that denying review would not cause the company intolerable harm. The magnitude and the nature of any dispute between the parties will shape the court's decision. Further, it is possible that no dispute between the parties will ever arise. The court also declines to determine the appropriate forum for future proceedings in the case. Any resolution of the jurisdictional question would require a decision on the merits of the company's petition.

Counsel for Petitioner
Angus Macbeth
Sidley & Austin
1722 I St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 429-4000

Counsel for Respondent
Craig D. Galli
Environmental and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Counsel for Amicus Curiae
James R. Bieke
Shea & Gardner
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 828-2000

Before SELYA, Circuit Judge, COFFIN, Senior Circuit Judge, and POLLAK,* Senior District Judge.