Court Upholds EPA Hex Chrome Rule

The 2012 EPA rule was challenged by the National Association for Surface Finishing, which sued the EPA.

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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

 

A federal appeals court ruled July 21 that the Environmental Protection Agency took the necessary steps when it set rules on emissions of certain air pollutants, including hexavalent chromium for the electroplating industry.

 

The 2012 EPA rule was challenged by the National Association for Surface Finishing, which sued the EPA saying the new rules were too stringent. Environmental groups also sued the EPA, claiming the new rules didn't go far enough.

 

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA study of the issue was fair, and therefore the rules stand.

 

“We conclude that EPA’s methodology passes muster,” the court said in its opinion. “Keeping in mind the ‘wide latitude’ we afford EPA’s expertise-informed choice of data-gathering methodology, we find that EPA’s data-collection process was reasonable.”

 

When the agency passed the rules in 2012, it claimed that more than 224 pounds of hexavalent chromium would be removed from the air. But the agency also said that of the 1,350 plating shops in the U.S., more than 85 percent are already meeting the standards.

 

The EPA said for those shops not currently meeting standards, it would cost less than $1,000 in new equipment in order to come into compliance. They also said that "small number" of shops would need to spend upwards of $65,000 to become compliant.

 

“We uphold EPA’s model as long as the agency ‘explain[s] the assumptions and methodology used in preparing the model’ and ‘provide[s] a complete analytic defense’ should the model be challenged,” the court's opinion said.

 

To read the court's opinion, please click HERE

 

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