Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. 9603, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA), 42 U.S.C. 11004, require parties to notify authorities when large quantities of hazardous materials are released into the environment. In 2008, the EPA issued a final rule that generally exempts farms from CERCLA and EPCRA reporting requirements for air released from animal waste. The EPA reasoned that the reports were unnecessary because, in most cases, federal response was impractical and unlikely. The court concluded that petitioners have informational standing and proceeded to the merits. The court granted the petition for review and vacated the Final Rule, concluding that the EPA's action cannot be justified either as a reasonable interpretation of any statutory ambiguity or implementation of a de minimis exception. The Pork Producers' challenge was moot and the court dismissed their petition. View "Waterkeeper Alliance v. EPA" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that new regulations promulgated by the USDA may result in an increase in foodborne illness from contaminated poultry. The district court concluded that plaintiffs failed to demonstrate an injury in fact and dismissed their claims for lack of standing. The court concluded that standing should have been evaluated under the motion to dismiss standard pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), and the district court erred by using the heightened standard for evaluating a motion for summary judgment. On the merits, the court concluded that, because plaintiffs have failed to plausibly allege that the NPIS substantially increases the risk of producing unwholesome, adulterated poultry compared to the existing inspection systems, they do not have standing. Further, plaintiffs' self-inflicted injuries are not fairly traceable to the NPIS, and their subjective fear does not give rise to standing. The court also concluded that FWW has not alleged an injury to its interest to give rise to organizational standing. Because plaintiffs have failed to establish that they will likely suffer a substantive injury, their claimed procedural injury necessarily fails. Accordingly, the court held that plaintiffs failed to show any cognizable injury sufficient to establish standing. The court affirmed the judgment. View "Food & Water Watch, Inc. v. Vilsack" on Justia Law