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Doe v. Browner

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 20657
Nos. No. CV-S-94-795-PMP (RLH), 902 F. Supp. 1241/(D. Nev., 08/30/1995)

The court holds that there are no genuine issues of material fact in a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) citizen suit brought by former employees at the "Groom Lake" classified U.S. Air Force facility alleging that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated RCRA by failing to perform nondiscretionary duties to conduct RCRA inspection and inventory, to notify the state of Nevada and the U.S. Air Force that they submitted inadequate information to EPA, and to make public inspection and inventory information. The court first holds that no genuine issue of material fact remains with regard to the former employees' inventory and inspection claims. Since the suit was filed, EPA performed its nondiscretionary duties and conducted an inspection and inventory of the facility in full compliance with RCRA. The court next holds that the employees cannot recover remedial relief, because RCRA's citizen suit provision affords only prospective relief. The court also holds that RCRA §3007(b) requires public disclosure of the inspection and inventory reports. Section 3007(b) does not implicitly repeal by implication all executive orders, statutes, and regulations that restrict public access to national security information. But the Air Force or EPA may seek a §6001(a) presidential exemption from RCRA's public-disclosure requirement for the reports.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Jonathan Turley
Environmental Crimes Project
National Law Center
George Washington University
2000 H St. NW, Washington DC 20052
(202) 994-6260

Counsel for Defendant
Russell M. Young
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000