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直流电路 Holds that 环保局 Does Not Need to Consider Mitigation in 不良贷款 Decision

直流电路 recently held that 环保局 was not required to consider mitigation measures taken at a site when determining whether to add the site to the 国家优先事项清单 (“NPL”) under 塞拉. 功臣, Inc. v. 环保局,2020年第18-1325号,WL 4299124(华盛顿特区,2020年7月28日)。

2016年,美国环境保护署(“EPA”)进行了罗克韦尔国际轮的室内空气质量研究& Trim facility (the “Site”),位于密西西比州,发现甲苯,三氯乙烯(“TCE”)和顺式1,2-二氯乙烯(“DCE”) in the main building at the 现场. In 2017, 功臣, Inc. (“Meritor”), which inherited liability for contamination at the 现场, conducted a subsurface investigation beneath the main building and uncovered elevated levels of toluene and 传统文化表现形式. In that same year, 功臣 installed a sub-slab depressurization system designed to mitigate the impacts of vapor intrusion in the main building. In 2018, notwithstanding 功臣’s mitigation efforts, 环保局 added the 现场 to the 不良贷款 based on vapor intrusion impacts.

When determining whether to add a facility to the 不良贷款, 环保局 applies the complex Hazard Ranking System found at 40 C.F.R. Part 300, Appendix A. To evaluate whether a particular exposure pathway necessitates adding a particular facility to the 不良贷款, 环保局 weighs the following factors: (1) the likelihood of release, (2) the 废物特征, and (3) the 目标 of the exposure. 功臣 filed a petition for review before the 直流电路, challenging 环保局’s application of the Hazardous Ranking System to the 现场.

First, 功臣 argued that 环保局 failed to account for the sub-slab depressurization system. When evaluating the “暴露的可能性” factor, 环保局 found that there was an “observed exposure” based on the indoor air exceedances witnessed before the sub-slab depressurization system was installed and therefore assigned the maximum value. The Court held that 环保局 is not required to consider the effects of remedial measures in determining the 暴露的可能性 when there was an 观察到的暴露, as opposed to a potential exposure.

其次,Meritor认为EPA在评估“targets”其中,不恰当地依赖于住宅健康基准,该基准假定主楼的工人每天暴露24小时,每年暴露350天,持续26年。 功臣指出,危害等级系统指示EPA选择“适当的基准”因此,EPA应该选择工业而不是住宅的健康基准。法院在驳回这一论点时指出,表5-20列出了基于健康的基准,并未提及特定地点的特征,并且危害等级系统已经考虑到了工人’相对较低的曝光率。例如,EPA指令将全职员工人数除以三,将兼职员工人数除以六,以说明其相对较低的暴露水平。

Finally, the Court rejected 功臣’s arguments that 环保局 miscalculated the “废物特征” factor of the vapor intrusion pathway because 功臣 had failed to raise those arguments before 环保局 before filing its petition for review.

直流电路’s decision in 功臣 v. 环保局 提醒着“重要的尊重” afforded to 环保局 in its 不良贷款 listing decisions and that Courts will tend apply the plain language of the listing criteria, even when subsequent remedial measures have been employed to reduce the likelihood of a release at a site.