Skip To The Main Content

Environmental Group Sues EPA Over Suspension of Amalgam Separator Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) final amalgam separator rule is in a precarious state after the agency withdrew the rule in accordance with a White House memorandum. The Administration directed federal agencies to "immediately withdraw" regulations that have been sent to the Federal Register but not published—and to follow the proper Federal Register procedure on withdrawals.

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) final amalgam separator rule is in a precarious state after the agency withdrew the rule in accordance with a White House memorandum. The Administration directed federal agencies to "immediately withdraw" regulations that have been sent to the Federal Register but not published—and to follow the proper Federal Register procedure on withdrawals.

A lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, however, claims that the EPA does not have the legal authority to withdraw regulations that are in the "public inspection" phase of development. The lawsuit contends that because the EPA requested that the amalgam separator rule be withdrawn before it had been published but after it had already been filed for public inspection, the regulation was already legally in effect.

Officially, the rule has been withdrawn. However, if the court concludes EPA did not have the legal authority to withdraw the rule, then the rule could be subject to the 60-day review period, depending on the agency's interpretation of whether (and when) the rule was (or will be) "published." Moreover, the Administrative Procedures Act requires that federal agencies must issue a public notice and provide the public an opportunity to comment before a final rule can be withdrawn.

The ADA spent more than a decade communicating with agency officials, testifying at public hearings and submitting written comments for the record. The final rule is consistent with the ADA principles for developing a national pretreatment standard for dental office wastewater, as approved by the 2010 House of Delegates.

Updates will be posted at ADA.org/RecycleAmalgam.

"State":"AK"