2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

Earthjustice, on behalf of three environmental groups, filed suit challenging two EPA rules relating to reporting requirements for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The rules, issued in 2020 and 2021, establish de minimis concentration exemptions and alternate threshold exemptions for reporting PFAS to EPA for the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).

Suit Seeks to Increase Reporting and Remove Secrecy
According to Earthjustice’s news release, the suit’s goal is to “force the agency to close illegal loopholes that let chemical plants and military bases across the United States avoid disclosing their PFAS emissions.”

The news release claims the rules allow “chemical companies and military agencies to avoid reporting their PFAS use and pollution if they release less than 500 pounds and produce up to 1 million pounds of PFAS.” Earthjustice alleges “EPA also allows secrecy if companies are mixing PFAS with other chemicals, even if dumping in air or water takes place.”

Suit Alleges Rules Do Not Comply with Federal Law
The suit asks the court to declare EPA issued the rules without following proper administrative procedures and in contravention of certain statutes, including the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2020, which added certain PFAS for inclusion in the TRI. The suit requests that reporting be required without any de minimis concentration exemptions or alternate threshold exemptions until EPA issues new rules that comply with law.

To see Earthjustice’s news release, which has a link to the Complaint https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2022/epa-sued-over-pfas-secrecy-reporting-loopholes