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Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. California Department of Public Health

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20174
Nos. RG12-643520, (Sup. Ct. Cal., 07/26/2013)

A California court held that the California Department of Public Health must adopt a final primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium. The state legislature commanded the department to adopt a standard by January 1, 2004; the department is therefore in ongoing violation of its ministerial duty to adopt a standard. But because the record is not yet sufficiently developed, the court denied petitioners' request to specify a date by which the department must adopt the standard. Nonetheless, to minimize the ongoing violation of the legislature's directive, the court ordered the department to submit its proposed standard in the California Regulatory Notice Register in August 2013, thereby triggering the 45-day public comment period, and to hold public hearings after the comment period ends. The court will then hold a hearing the week of October 28, 2013, to review the evidence, and, depending on the circumstances, specify a date by which the department must issue the final standard.