… During an Aug. 6 status conference in the case Food & Water Watch, Inc., et al. v. EPA, Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California cited a series of benefits from his plan requiring the plaintiffs to file a new petition and EPA to consider it, including giving the plaintiffs a new opportunity to bolster their standing in the case and allowing the National Toxicology Program (NTP) to advance a long-awaited monograph on fluoride’s neurodevelopmental risks.
“I’m just saying [the upcoming NTP study is] another reason why it makes sense, frankly, to spend this time allowing the agency to take a second look [at a new petition and] allowing plaintiffs to straighten out the standing issue [in a new petition], which I also think is very serious,” Chen said.
… “My client . . . objects to holding this case in abeyance. We’d like a decision,” Debra Carfora, a DOJ attorney representing EPA, told Chen. She also argued that “it would be inappropriate for this court to consider the new [NTP] monograph in a vacuum without . . . having a chance to look at this and what it means. . . . That context is going to be important for everyone to understand.”
Chen replied that he would likely want to hear from a few experts representing both sides regarding the conclusions in the NTP monograph.
“I’m not just going to take the NTP [monograph] in a closet and read it. On an issue this important, where serious questions are raised . . . I think everybody agrees NTP enjoys a high degree of respect and stature within the scientific community, this is their area,” he said.
He added that NTP’s monograph relies on a systematic review — a scientific process for transparently gathering and evaluating data quality but one on which the litigants are at odds. “Nobody doubts that’s the best methodology,” Chen said…
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