Diesel Exhaust Emissions not Subject to RCRA Regulation

On August 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the diesel exhaust emissions of two railyards were not subject to regulation under the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act (RCRA). The environmental advocates that brought the suit argued that the diesel emissions were solid waste that was disposed of when the emissions were “transported by wind and air currents” to the land and water surrounding the railyards.

The Ninth Circuit disagreed, holding that the regulation of diesel fuel emissions fell under the Clean Air Act rather than the RCRA. The Court rejected the argument that releasing diesel emissions into the air was disposing of solid waste within the meaning of the RCRA. ‘‘To adopt Plaintiffs’ interpretation,” the Court said, “…would effectively be to rearrange the wording of the statute…[r]eading § 6903(3) as Congress has drafted it, ‘disposal’ does not extend to emissions of solid waste directly into the air.’’

For more information, contact Phillip Hoover or Andrew Bauer.

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