Atlantic Legal Sues EPA Over Lead Reporting Rule

Atlantic Legal has filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to block a new lead-reporting regulation issued in the last weeks of Bill Clinton’s presidency. The regulation requires thousands of businesses to report their use of lead. EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman and the Bush Administration have allowed this last-minute Clinton Adminstration regulation to be implemented.Atlantic Legal is representing the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a nonprofit nonpartisan organization founded in 1943, which represents the consensus views of its 600,000 members in Washington and all 50 state capitals.The complaint cites EPA’s failure to comply with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), which requires that regulatory agencies take into account the concerns of small businesses and the economic impact of new regulations on small entities when promulgating rules. Atlantic Legal and NFIB contend that EPA did not take the concerns of small business into account when issuing the regulation. The complaint also alleges that EPA did not apply sound science in reducing the reporting threshold from 10,000 pounds per year of lead usage to 100 pounds per year, thus more than doubling the number of firms that must monitor and report lead usage. EPA began treating lead and lead compounds as persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals (PBTs) before its own Science Advisory Board (SAB) peer review process was initiated and prior to a determination that PBT methodology is scientifically appropriate for lead and lead compounds; EPA did not have a definitive recommendation from SAB prior to issuing the rule, contrary to its normal procedure. In addition, the rule is retroactive to the beginning of this year, even though the regulation formally became effective on April 17, 2001.