The Duty to Update Lead Standards

INSIDE EPA reported that in A Community Voice, et al. v. EPA, two of three appellate court judges in the 9th Circuit at June 12 oral argument “doubted EPA’s claim that it has no statutory duty to revise its lead dust standards”. The case involves a petition filed by eight environmental, community and health groups last August for the update, and EPA’s previous agreement to do it, but current failure to follow through. What is a “reasonable” timeframe? No specificity and doubting that there’s even a requirement don’t make it.

“‘I think there’s a legislative command,’ Judge Lawrence Piersol of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said in response to Rochelle Russell, a Justice Department (DOJ) attorney representing EPA, who argued the court can only compel action on the lead dust hazard standard if the agency ignored a specific command. ‘You know, there’s an old blues song: how long can this keep going on? What is your suggestion?’ Piersol went on to ask, referring to the years-long delay in EPA’s work on revisions to the existing standard.”

One of the arguments for updating is that HUD has already begun the process.