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California Communities Against Toxics v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20117
Nos. 18-1163, (D.C. Cir., 07/02/2019)

The D.C. Circuit upheld an EPA rule that classified as "recycled" certain hazardous material sent to a third-party reclamation facility and thus exempted the material from RCRA regulations governing discarded waste. Environmental groups argued the rule violated RCRA because material that a generator paid a third-party reclaimer to accept was clearly "discarded" under the ordinary meaning of the term and thus constituted "solid waste" that was subject to the regulations. The court disagreed, finding that material was not necessarily "discarded" each time it was transferred from a generator to a reclaimer. The groups also argued that EPA failed to provide a reasoned basis for treating the same hazardous materials differently based on whether it was sent to a reclaimer or a storage, treatment, or disposal, facility. The court found EPA adequately explained that it treated materials destined for recycling at a reclamation facility differently because those materials were not part of the waste disposal problem targeted by RCRA when they met conditions determined by the Agency to be adequate for safe transfer and legitimate recycling. It therefore denied the groups' petition.