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Natural Resources Defense Council v. Department of Agric.

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20178
Nos. No. 09-2021, (2d Cir., 07/08/2010)

The Second Circuit held that the USDA complied with NEPA and the Plant Protection Act when it adopted new regulations for the importation of solid wood packaging material into the United States. The final rule required that all solid wood packaging material be either heat treated to a minimum wood core temperature of 56°C for a minimum of 30 minutes or fumigated with methyl bromide prior to being used in connection with the importation of goods into the United States. An environmental group and a handful of states argued that the USDA failed to adequately consider the reasonable alternative of a phased-in substitute-materials-only requirement. But the agency reasonably concluded that while a phased-in substitute-materials-only requirement would provide maximum plant protection with minimal adverse environmental consequences, it is not currently a workable alternative to an urgent problem in need of an immediate response. Nor did the agency act arbitrarily or capriciously in adopting the rule.