Canadian Environmental Lawyer’s Legal Battle Over EPA Regulations Protecting Canadian Environment
Canadian environmental lawyer David Eby has sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a new regulation that he says requires a company to “preserve” its chemicals on land it occupies.
Eby is one of the legal challenges to the proposed regulations that are set to be debated at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in mid-October.
The regulations would establish a new federal environmental quality standard for the use of chemicals in the country.
They are the first such regulations to come into effect since a similar standard was adopted in Britain in 2006, but the US has never implemented it in its entirety.
“The government of Canada has repeatedly failed to live up to its own environmental standards, and is continuing to disregard its obligations,” Eby wrote in a blog post.
“This failure is both deliberate and deliberate for the reasons outlined above.”
The US standard requires companies to “take all reasonable measures to prevent the release, storage, or use of hazardous chemicals” and “make every reasonable effort to ensure that the substances are not released or stored in the environment.”
Eby argues that the standards are being ignored by the government, which he claims has “failed to protect Canadians from chemicals in its own waters and environment.”
The Canada Environmental Law Centre (CELL) says it is not a lawyer, but its director of environmental law, Peter Houser, has defended the Canadian government in court over the regulations.
In an emailed statement, Housers said that the law centre is “not an attorney and we cannot comment on legal matters,” adding that CELL would not be commenting further on the matter.
“If the court agrees with the CELL, it will make an announcement about that in the coming days,” he added.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment on the legal action, saying that the department is “reviewing” the regulations and “will make any appropriate decision when we have a better understanding of what the proposed rules would mean.”
A spokesperson from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Industry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Canada’s federal environment ministry declined to answer specific questions about the lawsuit, but said that it “has worked closely with CELL in the past to address regulatory gaps and ensure that our laws and regulations protect Canadians’ health and the environment” and that it has “made sure our regulations are not burdensome to Canadian businesses.”
Ebis law firm, which also represents companies such as ConocoPhillips and Alcoa, has not yet filed a legal challenge against the EPA regulations.
Ebis is also challenging a similar regulation that was imposed in the UK in 2006.
The UK’s regulations required companies to submit data showing “the extent to which the chemicals they use are toxic to aquatic organisms and fish.”
The regulations were later ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of England and Wales, but in the intervening years, they were replaced with a new, stricter version.
The new rules require companies to notify the EPA of chemicals they “may” use, and to report any use that “could potentially be hazardous” to aquatic life.
The British government has not announced a response to Eby’s lawsuit.
Ebys law firm has also taken on the United States Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).
Eby is a lawyer with a speciality in environmental law.