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Ninth Circuit Rules Air Emissions do Not Constitute Disposal of Solid Waste

Posted By Peter A. Watson, Wednesday, October 8, 2014
On August 20, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Ctr. for Cmty. Action v. BNSF Railway Co., held that emissions of diesel particulate matter do not constitute the "disposal" of solid waste. Plaintiffs sought to enjoin the emission of particulate matter found in diesel exhaust originating from locomotive and truck engines on defendants' rail yards and cited EPA studies identifying diesel particulate matter as a carcinogenic, toxic contaminant. The district court dismissed the case, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to state a claim because diesel exhaust is not a "solid or hazardous waste" under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and rail yards are not regulated by the Clean Air Act. In support of its decision, the Court cited a history of decisions by Congress and EPA not to regulate diesel emissions at railroad yards. 

Tags:  Air Emissions  Cmty. Action v. BNSF Railway Co.  EPA  Resource Conservation and Recovery Act  solid waste 

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