Court rebuffs attempt to limit scope in review of citizen petition
A federal judge has handed the US EPA its second defeat, in a lawsuit that could end up setting precedent for how the judiciary handles citizen petitions for chemical regulation under TSCA.
The lawsuit, brought by a group of NGOs demanding the EPA ban the addition of fluoride to drinking water, asks the court to examine the EPA’s dismissal of their petition.
The latest ruling rebuffed the agency’s demand to limit the scope of the court’s review to information originally presented to it in administrative proceedings. The decision allows plaintiffs to offer a broad range of evidence to bolster their case, and to demand that the EPA provide additional information, things it argued they should not be allowed to do.
“The text of the TSCA, its structure, its purpose, and the legislative history make clear that Congress did not intend to impose such a limitation in judicial review of Section 21 citizen petitions,” the California court ruled on 7 February.
In an earlier ruling, the court rejected both the EPA’s request to dismiss the case and its contention that citizen petitions must address all potential conditions of use, rather than demanding action against one use of a chemical.
The administrative action underlying the case is the EPA’s February 2017 denial of a petition by organisations campaigning against fluoridation of drinking water. The agency argued that other uses must be addressed as well as disputing the scientific evidence of neurotoxicity that the NGOs presented.
The fluoride suit may also have implications for a separate legal action challenging the EPA’s implementation of TSCA’s risk evaluation mandates.
*Original article online at https://chemicalwatch.com/63788/second-major-setback-for-epa-in-fluoride-lawsuit-under-tsca