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American Waterways Operators v. Wheeler

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20010
Nos. 18-cv-02933 (APM), (D.D.C., 12/13/2019) (Mehta, J.)

A district court denied motions to remand and vacate EPA's decision to allow a no-discharge zone in Puget Sound. A tugboat, towboat, and barge industry group argued that EPA erred in determining that adequate pump-out facilities were reasonably available without considering the compliance costs for boaters, and thus that the determination should be remanded and vacated. The Agency moved to remand, but not to vacate, the determination so that it could take costs into consideration. The court found that EPA admitted no error in the process leading up to its determination and simply wanted "a second bite at the apple, " which was not a sufficient condition to revisit the decision. Moreover, granting EPA's remand request would unduly prejudice the interests of environmental groups that intervened in the suit and leave boaters uncertain as to their compliance obligations. The court therefore denied the Agency's motion to remand without vacatur as well as the group's motion to remand with vacatur.