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Oil Re-Refining Co. v. Envtl. Quality Comm'n

Citation: 47 ELR 20028
No. S063590, (Or., 02/09/2017)

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that a company that ran a waste treatment and disposal facility was liable for transporting hazardous waste without the proper manifest forms. The company contracted to transport waste from a polymer manufacturer's factory to its treatment facility. The company had previously taken six waste deliveries from the polymer manufacturer, none of which contained potentially hazardous waste. For a period of two months, the company transported the waste to its facility with paperwork describing the characteristics of the materials, but not the manifest form required for transport of hazardous waste. An EPA investigation into the polymer company led the state environmental department to investigate the company and allege violations of manifest requirements and hazardous waste treatment violations. At the administrative hearing, the company alleged that the manifest requirement did not apply because it was not transporting hazardous waste, and alternatively, that if the waste was hazardous, it did not violate the requirement because it reasonably relied on the information the polymer manufacturer provided. The state Supreme Court agreed with the administrative judge and appellate court's assessment of a civil penalty, holding that the department’s authority to assess a penalty for a simple violation is not subject to a culpable mental state requirement. The ruling was affirmed.