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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a procedural rule to streamline and modernize the Agency's permitting process. This was done by creating a time-limited alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process as a precondition to judicial review. With this new rule, any interested party seeking judicial review of an EPA permit would have to participate in this process before filing a petition in federal court. The parties in the ADR process are given a choice to either, by unanimous consent, extend the ADR process or proceed to an appeal before the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB).

This proposed rule would modify the process relevant to certain administrative appeals handled by the EAB. This rule will affect persons and entities that challenge EPA permitting decisions under the following programs:

  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
  • The Safe Drinking Water Act's Underground Injection Control (UIC)
  • Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Outer Continental Shelf Permit Program
  • Title V Permit Program
  • Acid Rain Permit Programs
  • Tribal Major Non-Attainment New Source Review Permits (NSR)
  • Tribal Minor NSR Permits

The proposed rule also seeks to clarify the scope and standard of the EAB's review. Currently, the EAB reviews petitions for a finding of fact or conclusion of a clearly erroneous law. The current regulations also provide the EAB with the discretion to address issues that a federal court could not review. EPA is proposing to eliminate this provision, and clarify that the EAB's scope and standard of review is limited to a finding of fact or conclusion of a clearly erroneous law.

The EPA is voluntarily accepting information and comments on any of the items in the proposed rule. For more information visit the EPA website. If you have questions about how this proposed change may affect your facility, please contact your local Trinity office at (800) 229-6655.