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Air Alliance Houston v. U.S. Chemical and Safety Hazard Investigation Board

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20018
Nos. 17-cv-02608 (APM), (D.D.C., 02/04/2019) (Mehta, J.)

A district court granted environmental groups' request to compel the U.S. Chemical and Safety Hazard Investigation Board to promulgate regulations concerning accidental chemical releases. The groups argued that the Board's failure to implement reporting regulations in the 27 years since Congress amended the CAA constituted both unlawfully withheld and unreasonably delayed agency action, in violation of the APA. The court found that the Board unlawfully withheld agency action because although the CAA did not require it to establish regulations by a certain date, there could be no doubt that the congressional directive to adopt these regulations was a discrete act that the Board was required to take. The court also found that the Board's inaction was unreasonably delayed as the court has never held that a delay of this magnitude—more than 20 years—could be reasonable. The court therefore ordered the Board to promulgate final accidental chemical release reporting regulations within 12 months.