U.S. Brewers Ass'n, Inc. v. E.P.A., No. 77-1867

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtBefore BAZELON, LEVENTHAL and ROBB; ROBB
Citation195 U.S.App.D.C. 160,600 F.2d 974
Parties, 195 U.S.App.D.C. 160, 9 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,395 UNITED STATES BREWERS ASSOCIATION, INC., et al., Petitioners, v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Respondent.
Decision Date31 May 1979
Docket NumberNo. 77-1867

Page 974

600 F.2d 974
13 ERC 1112, 195 U.S.App.D.C. 160, 9
Envtl. L. Rep. 20,395
UNITED STATES BREWERS ASSOCIATION, INC., et al., Petitioners,
v.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Respondent.
No. 77-1867.
United States Court of Appeals,
District of Columbia Circuit.
Argued Dec. 13, 1978.
Decided May 23, 1979.
As Amended May 31, 1979.

William D. Tyler, Washington, D. C., for petitioner.

Mark R. Sussman, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., with whom James W.

Page 976

Moorman, Asst. Atty. Gen., Angus Macbeth, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Joan Z. Bernstein, Gen. Counsel, E. P. A., and Merideth Wright, Atty., E. P. A., Washington, D. C., were on the brief for respondent.

Samuel Bernstein, New York City, was on the brief for amicus curiae urging that the decision of the E. P. A. be set aside and the Beverage Container Regulations declared void.

Before BAZELON, LEVENTHAL and ROBB, Circuit Judges.

Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge ROBB.

ROBB, Circuit Judge:

The United States Brewers Association, Inc. (the Brewers) seeks review of a final order of the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, entered August 16, 1977. 1 In the challenged order the Administrator denied the Brewers' petition to repeal the Agency's "Solid Waste Management Guidelines for Beverage Containers". The Agency has moved to dismiss the petition for review for lack of jurisdiction. We deny the motion to dismiss and affirm the Administrator's order.

The Beverage Container Guidelines (40 C.F.R. Part 244) describe a system for resource conservation which is recommended to state and local governments. Section 6004 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 6964 requires that executive agencies insure compliance with these recommended Guidelines. The Guidelines require that all beverage containers sold at federal facilities be made "returnable" by the requirement of a five-cent deposit as an incentive to the consumers to return empty containers for reuse or recycling. Returnable containers need not be refillable; cans and non-refillable bottles may be used. Beverages in sealed containers sold on federal facilities must be labeled returnable and deposits must be refunded to the consumer when containers are returned. Dealers are forbidden to procure beverages in beverage containers from distributors who refuse to cooperate in the program.

I. JURISDICTION

The motion to dismiss for want of jurisdiction raises novel and difficult questions which require us to examine the statutory and procedural background of the Administrator's order denying the petition for review.

The guidelines for beverage containers are one of a series of solid waste management guidelines issued by EPA. They were promulgated September 21, 1976, pursuant to section 209(a) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act as amended by the Resource Recovery Act of 1970. (P.L. 91-512, 42 U.S.C. § 3254c (1970)) (1970 Act) That section required EPA to "recommend to appropriate agencies and publish in the Federal Register guidelines for solid waste recovery, collection, separation and disposal systems . . . ." Section 211 of the 1970 Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3254e (1970), made compliance with the guidelines by federal executive agencies mandatory.

On October 21, 1976, one month after promulgation of the Beverage Container Guidelines, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 was enacted. (P.L. 94-580, 42 U.S.C. § 6901 Et seq.) (1976 Act) The 1976 statute substantially amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1970. It replaced section 209 of the former Act with a new section 1008, 42 U.S.C. § 6907. The Report on the Senate bill, from which section 1008 was derived, states that "section 209 is amended to broaden the scope of information and solid waste management guidelines authorized by the Resource Recovery Act of 1970." S.Rep.No. 94-988, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 12 (1976). Additionally, the 1976 Act reenacted section 211 of the 1970 Act (Applicability of Solid Waste Disposal

Page 977

Guidelines to Executive Agencies) verbatim as section 6004, 42 U.S.C. § 6964, and added a new section 4002, 42 U.S.C. § 6942, which requires federal guidelines to assist in the development and implementation of state solid waste management plans.

The 1970 Act contained no specific provision for judicial review of the Administrator's action in promulgating regulations. The 1976 Act, section 7006, 42 U.S.C. § 6976, provided for review on petition to this court:

Any judicial review of final regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter shall be in accordance with sections 701 through 706 of Title 5, except that

(1) a petition for review of action of the Administrator in promulgating any regulation, or requirement under this chapter may be filed only in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Any such petition shall be filed within ninety days from the date of such promulgation, or after such date if such petition is based solely on grounds arising after such ninetieth day.

In addition the 1976 Act provided for a petition to repeal a regulation (section 7004, 42 U.S.C. § 6974(a)):

(a) Petition. Any person may petition the Administrator for the promulgation, amendment, or repeal of any regulation under this chapter. Within a reasonable time following receipt of such petition, the Administrator shall take action with respect to such petition and shall publish notice of such action in the Federal Register, together with the reasons therefor.

The 1976 Act contained no savings clause explicitly keeping in effect regulations promulgated under the 1970 Act until changed by action of the regulatory agency. This led EPA's deputy assistant administrator for solid waste management programs to inquire of agency counsel "whether EPA must republish the guidelines already issued under section 209 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act before federal agencies can be required, by section 6004 of the amended Solid Waste Disposal Act, to comply with them." On November 12, 1976 the Agency counsel responded that republication was not necessary. In his memorandum, contained in the Joint Appendix at pages 84-88, counsel first reviewed the statutory background of the problem, as follows:

BACKGROUND

The Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 3251ff.) was amended in several respects by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, including renumbering of all sections. Section 209 of the existing SWDA, authorizing EPA to publish guidelines, was amended to broaden the scope of the guidelines, and to require that congressional committees be notified prior to EPA's publication of guidelines, and renumbered as section 1008. Even though the wording of § 209 is not adopted by § 1008, each requirement or authorization by § 209 is also required or authorized by § 1008. Section 211 of the existing SWDA, making those guidelines mandatory for federal facilities, was simply renumbered as section 6004.

Counsel noted that Congress was "fully aware" of the guidelines published on September 21, 1976, and he concluded that the legislative history disclosed a congressional intent that the Guidelines should remain in effect. He reasoned that the requirement that congressional committees be notified prior to the publication of the Guidelines "was to let Congress know of EPA's proposals in the 'beginning' when they were 'new', and 'not after the event'." He recommended however that the Agency "put out an amendment in the Federal Register updating the authority section of each guideline to read 'under authority of (the relevant sections) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, as amended by the Resource Recovery Act of 1970 and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976'." He recommended further that the Agency "also review the guidelines for consistency with Section 1008(a) of the RCRA and write a letter to the appropriate congressional committees embodying its conclusions."

Page 978

The Agency did not republish the Guidelines, nor did it "put out" an amendment in the Federal Register and write a letter to the appropriate congressional committees.

On February 7, 1977 the Brewers filed their petition with the Administrator, requesting the repeal of the Guidelines promulgated on September 21, 1976. 2 The petition stated that it was filed "(p)ursuant to Section 7004(a) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 6974(a)," providing for petitions to repeal regulations. The petitioners contended that the Guidelines for beverage containers were inconsistent with both section 209 of the 1970 Act and section 1008 of the 1976 Act. Specifically the petitioners argued that the definition of "disposal" under section 209 of the 1970 Act was not sufficiently broad to encompass the EPA guidelines. The Guidelines were invalid under the 1976 statute, said the Brewers, because that act envisioned guidelines descriptive of alternate waste management practices, whereas the EPA guidelines prescribed a specific practice. Furthermore, the Brewers contended that deposit Guidelines advocated a policy preference for resource conservation in violation of the statute. Finally it was argued that because the Guidelines were not "disposal" guidelines they could not be made mandatory upon federal agencies by section 6004 of the 1976 Act.

On August 16, 1977 the Administrator, holding that the Guidelines were valid under both the 1970 Act and the 1976 Act, denied the Brewers' petition for their repeal. The Brewers filed their petition for review in this court on September 26, 1977. The Administrator filed his motion to dismiss November 1, 1977.

As we have said, the 1970 Act contained no specific provision for judicial review of the Administrator's actions. Any judicial review of the Administrator's actions under that statute presumably would have been available only in the District Court pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701 Et seq. Section...

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18 practice notes
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register October 30, 2008
    • October 30, 2008
    ...materials that are destined for recycling (see 45 FR 33091, citing numerous sections of the statute and U.S. Brewers' Association v. EPA, 600 F. 2d 974 (DC Cir. 1979); 48 FR 14502-04, April 3, 1983; and 50 FR Hazardous secondary materials stored or transported prior to recycling have the po......
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    • Federal Register June 03, 2010
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    ...Rule. The roots of the doctrine go back at least to the DC Circuit's 1979 decision in United States Brewers Association, Inc. v. EPA, 600 F.2d 974 (DC Cir. 1979). There, the Court considered a challenge to EPA's guidelines for managing beverage containers, EPA was required to promulgate und......
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    ...necessity” and “one-step-at-a-time.” See Ala. Power Co. v. Costle, 636 F.2d 323, 357–60 (D.C.Cir.1979); U.S. Brewers Ass'n, Inc. v. EPA, 600 F.2d 974, 982 (D.C.Cir.1979). With respect to this issue, the EPA provided the following response: [T]he State's submitted phased-in permitting proces......
  • Northside Sanitary Landfill, Inc. v. Thomas, No. 85-2119
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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
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    ...the issues Northside raises from review. Abbott Laboratories, 387 U.S. at 136, 87 S.Ct. at 1507; United States Brewers Association v. EPA, 600 F.2d 974, 979 Page 386 (D.C.Cir.1979). In conclusion, even accepting as true Northside's allegations that the Indiana environmental agency will not ......
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12 cases
  • Luminant Generation Co. v. U.S. Envtl. Prot. Agency, No. 10–60934.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • March 25, 2013
    ...necessity” and “one-step-at-a-time.” See Ala. Power Co. v. Costle, 636 F.2d 323, 357–60 (D.C.Cir.1979); U.S. Brewers Ass'n, Inc. v. EPA, 600 F.2d 974, 982 (D.C.Cir.1979). With respect to this issue, the EPA provided the following response: [T]he State's submitted phased-in permitting proces......
  • Northside Sanitary Landfill, Inc. v. Thomas, No. 85-2119
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • December 29, 1986
    ...the issues Northside raises from review. Abbott Laboratories, 387 U.S. at 136, 87 S.Ct. at 1507; United States Brewers Association v. EPA, 600 F.2d 974, 979 Page 386 (D.C.Cir.1979). In conclusion, even accepting as true Northside's allegations that the Indiana environmental agency will not ......
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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 31, 1987
    ...rejected the contention that a RCRA "waste" must first be discarded or thrown away. See United States Brewers Ass'n, Inc. v. EPA, 600 F.2d 974 (D.C.Cir.1979). We disagree. In Brewers, petitioners challenged the "Solid Waste Management Guidelines for Beverage Containers" promulgated by EPA p......
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