Chlorine Chemistry Council v. EPA 206 F.3d 1286 (D.C. Cir. 2000)
Pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA),
EPA had to set a "maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG).
EPA had set MCLGs based on the data they had available at
the time. Because no safe threshold for chloroform had been established,
EPA conservatively set the MCLG at 0.
Years later, EPA re-considered the risks from chloroform
when studies shows that there was a threshold level for chloroform
contamination, and under that level there was no risk. However, EPA
decided to keep the MCLG for chloroform at 0.
EPA argued that, although they had new evidence showing
that small amounts of chloroform weren't a health hazard, they wanted to
wait until they was super-absolutely sure before changing the MCLG.
The Chlorine Chemistry Council and other industry groups
sued, arguing that EPA violated its statutory mandate to use the best
available evidence when implementing the provisions of SDWA.
The Appellate Court found for the Council.
The Appellate Court found that EPA cannot reject the best
available evidence simply because of the possibility of contradiction
in the future by evidence unavailable at the time of action.
It's always going to be possible that new evidence will
arise in the future.
The Court noted that SWDA mandates that EPA use
"the best available, peer-reviewed science and supporting studies
conducted in accordance with sound and objective scientific