The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York (2nd Cir.) in late April vacated its ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency must make public records of pollutant discharge presented to the agency by a lead smelting plant as required by the Clean Water Act.
The court set aside its ruling after it learned that the requester, as a part of a settlement agreement with the plant, had withdrawn its Freedom of Information Act request for the records.
RSR Corporation in Wallkill, N.Y., had argued against mandatory release of the records, saying that if EPA revealed how much pollutant material it released, business competitors would be able to gauge how much lead the company was actually producing. Under the Clean Water Act, the level of pollutants allowed to be discharged legally into waterways is based on the quantity of lead produced.
The EPA, a federal District Court in Manhattan and the appeals panel all had concluded that the public would need to see RSR’s production data in order to know that it actually complied with the Clean Water Act. The District Court also vacated its decision. (RSR Corporation v. EPA)