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Environmental Defense Fund v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 51 ELR 20015
Nos. 4:21-cv-03-BMM, (D. Mont., 01/27/2021) (Morris, J.)

A district court granted summary judgment for environmental groups in a challenge to EPA's decision to make its Regulatory Science rule effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. The groups argued EPA's decision violated the APA's 30-day notice requirement after publication of a final substantive rule, and sought to have the decision set aside and the rule remain ineffective until 30 days from its publication date. The court found the rule fell outside the realm of a procedural rule because it failed to provide the Agency with procedural direction, and instead represented a substantive rule because it narrowly limited the Agency's discretion to consider certain scientific research when conducting future rulemakings, and thus was not exempt from the 30-day notice requirement. It further found that EPA lacked "good cause" to exempt the rule from the notice requirement. The court therefore granted the groups' motion for summary judgment, held that EPA unlawfully made the rule effective immediately on publication, and declared the rule ineffective until 30 days from its publication date.