Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Sierra Club v. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20177
Nos. 5253, (S,C,, 07/30/2014)

The South Carolina Supreme Court held that the operator of a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility failed to comply with state groundwater protection regulations and must therefore submit a written plan for compliance or face potential revocation of its operating license. The operator first obtained a license to run the facility in 1971. In 2000, it applied for a license renewal, and the state environmental agency approved the request, finding that the operator designed, constructed, and operated the facility in compliance with the licensing requirements for land disposal of radioactive wastes. An administrative law court upheld the agency's approval, but the state's highest court reversed. The record demonstrates that the operator has taken no action to prevent rain from migrating into an active vault or trench. Nor has the operator taken action to minimize the migration of waste-contaminated water out of disposal units. Because the operator is not in compliance, the license would be invalid under state law. But because the environmental group challenging the renewal simply asks that the agency enforce its regulations and does not seek revocation of the license, the court ordered the operator and agency to submit a written plan for compliance within 90 days.