The Osteen Decision

The Osteen Decision

July 17, 1998
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA

WINSTON-SALEM DIVISION


FLUE-CURED TOBACCO COOPERATIVE
STABILIZATION CORPORATION,
THE COUNCIL FOR BURLEY TOBACCO
INC.,
UNIVERSAL LEAF TOBACCO COMPANY
INCORPORATED,
PHILIP MORRIS INCORPORATED,
R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY,
and
GALLINS VENDING COMPANY,

Plaintiffs,

V.


ace="Arial">
e="Arial">V.



ace="Arial">
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, and CAROL BROWNER, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency,

Defendants.

6:93CV00370

ORDER AND JUDGMENT

OSTEEN, District Judge

For the reasons set forth in the memorandum opinion entered contemporaneously herewith,

IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is granted [1171.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendants' Cross Motion for Summary Judgment is denied [1261. The court vacates Chapters 1-6 of and the Appendices to EPA's Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and other Disorders, EPA/600/6-90/006F (December 1992). To ripen its judgment for purposes of appellate review, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), the court finds there is no just reason for delaying entry of judgment.


IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiffs, Motion for Leave to File Supplement Pleading under Rule 15(d) is granted (1201.

This the 17th day 1998.

[signed William L. Osteen]
United States District Judge


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA

WINSTON-SALEM DIVISION


FLUE-CURED TOBACCO COOPERATIVE
STABILIZATION CORPORATION,
THE COUNCIL FOR BURLEY TOBACCO,
INC.,
UNIVERSAL LEAF TOBACCO COMPANY,
INCORPORATED,
PHILIP MORRIS INCORPORATED,
R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY,
and
GALLINS VENDING COMPANY,

Plaintiffs,

V.


UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, and CAROL BROWNER, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency,

Defendants.

6:93CV00370

MEMORANDUM OPINION

OSTEEN, District Judge

This case is before the court on the parties' cross motions for partial summary judgment on Counts I-III of the Complaint. These counts raise Administrative Procedure Act (APA) challenges to EPA's report, Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders, EPA/600/6-90/006F, December 1992




(ETS Risk Assessment). EPA claims its authority to conduct the ETS Risk Assessment derives from the Radon Gas and Indoor Air Quality Research Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-499, 100 Stat. 1758-60 (1986) (Radon Research Act) (codified at 42 U.S.C. 5 7401 note (1994)). In the ETS Risk Assessment, EPA evaluated the respiratory health effects of breathing secondhand smoke (environmental tobacco smoke or ETS) and classified ETS as a Group A carcinogen, a designation meaning there is sufficient evidence co conclude ETS causes cancer in humans. Disputing the Assessment, Plaintiffs argue: EPA exceeded its authority under and violated the restrictions within the Radon Research Act; EPA did not comply with the Radon Research Act's procedural requirements; EPA violated administrative law procedure by making a conclusion regarding ETS before it concluded its risk assessment, and EPA's ETS Risk Assessment was not the result of reasoned decision making. EPA denies the same and argues the administrative record (record) demonstrates reasoned decision making. Plaintiffs have also filed a motion to supplement the

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1 Plaintiffs also allege that EPA's issuance of the ETS Risk Assessment violated Plaintiffs, due process rights. The court has stayed consideration of the due process claims pending resolution of the APA claims. See Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corp. v. EPA, 857 F. Supp. 1137 (M.D.N.C. 1994).

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pleadings. For the reasons stated herein, the court will enter an order granting Plaintiffs' motions.

I. THE RADON RESEARCH ACT

The Radon Research Act was enacted by Congress as Title IV of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) and codified with the Clean Air Act at 42 U.S.C. 7401 note. The Act was based on Congress' finding: "exposure to naturally occurring radon and indoor air pollutants poses public health risk[s]," id. 402(2); "Federal radon and indoor air pollutant research programs are fragmented and underfunded," id. 402(3); and an "information base concerning exposure to radon and indoor air pollutants should be developed . . . . Id. 402(4). The act provides

(a) Design of Program. - [The EPA] shall establish a research program with respect to radon gas and indoor air quality. Such program shall be designed to -

(1) gather data and information on all aspects of indoor air quality in order to contribute to the understanding of health problems associated with the existence of air pollutants in the indoor environment;

(2) coordinate Federal, State, local, and private research and development

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efforts relating to the improvement of indoor air quality; and

(3) assess appropriate Federal Government actions to mitigate the environmental and health risks associated with indoor air quality problems.

(b) Program requirements. - The research program required under this section shall include -

(1) research and development concerning the identification, characterization, and monitoring of the sources and levels of indoor air pollution . . . .

. . . .

(2) research relating to the effects of indoor air pollution and radon on human health;

. . . .

(6) the dissemination of information to assure the public availability of the findings of the activities under this section.

Id. 403(a) & (b). Congress also required a narrow construction of the authority delegated under the Radon Research Act. Nothing in the act "shall be construed to authorize the [EPA] to carry out any regulatory program or any activity other than research, development, and related reporting, information dissemination, and coordination activities specified in (the Radon Research Act]." Id. 404.

4

The Act requires EPA to establish two advisory groups to assist EPA in carrying out its statutory obligations under the Radon Research Act. one of the advisory groups is to be a committee comprised of representatives of federal agencies concerned with various aspects of indoor air quality, and the other group is to be "an advisory group comprised of individuals representing the States, the scientific community, industry, and public interest organizations . . . ... Id. 403(c). The Act requires EPA to submit its research plan to the EPA Science Advisory Board which, in turn, would submit comments to Congress. Id. 403(d).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW 2

Administrative agencies have no power to act beyond authority conferred by Congress. See, e.g., Louisiana Public Serv. Comm'n v. FCC, 476 U.S. 355, 374, 206 S. Ct. 1890, 1901, 90 L. Ed. 2d 369 (1986). Title 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(C) requires the

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2 As this case involves review of administrative agency action, the court will not conduct de novo review but must review the record before EPA at the time EPA made its decision. For a discussion on the scope of review, see Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corp. v. EPA, No. 6:93CV00370 at 16-20 (M.D.N.C. May 23, 1995) (Memorandum Opinion discussing summary judgment on scope of review).

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court to "hold unlawful and set aside agency action . . . found to be . . . in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory right." The initial inquiry for judicial review of agency action is "whether Congress has directly spoken to the precise question at issue. If the intent of Congress is clear, that is the end of the matter; for the court, as well as the agency, must give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress." Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense
Council I
Inc
., 467 U.S. 837,
842-43, 104 S. Ct. 2778, 2781, 81, L. Ed. 2d 694 (1984). -The task of resolving the dispute over the meaning of [the statute] begins where all such inquiries must begin: with the language of the statute itself." United States v. Ron Pair Enter., Inc., 489 U.S. 235, 241, 109 S. Ct. 1026, 1030, 103 L. Ed. 2d 290 (1989) (citations omitted). "The judiciary . . . is the final authority on issues of statutory construction and will reject administrative interpretations which are contrary to the clear congressional intent." Adams v. Dole, 927 F.2d 771, 774 (4th
Cir. 1991).

"[I]f the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific issue, the question for the court is whether the agency's answer is based on a permissible construction of the

6




statute." Chevron, 467 U.S. at 843, 104 S. Ct. at 2782. Courts do not always abide by this Chevron deference. Although the circuits appear divided, the majority of post-Chevron cases hold no deference is accorded to an agency's view of a statute where the statute does not confer rule making authority on the agency. Compare Merck & Co. v. Kessler, 80 F.3d 1543, 1550 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (Chevron does not apply to interpretive rules); Atchison. Topeka & Santa Fe Ry.
v. Pena, 44 F.3d 437, 441-42 (7th Cir. 1994) (en banc) (same), aff'd on other grounds sub nom. Brotherhood of Locomotive Eng'rs v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry., 116 S. Ct. 595 (1996) with Trans Union Corp. v. FTC, 81 F.3d 228, 230-31 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (applying Chevron to interpretive rule); Elizabeth Blackwell Health Ctr. for Women v. Knoll, 61 F.3d 170, 182 (3d Cir. 1995) (same), cert. denied, 116 S. Ct. 816 (1996). See Ronald M. Levin, Scope of Review Legislation: The Lessons of 1995, 31 Wake Forest L. Rev. 647, 662-64 (1996). Another factor in determining an agency's discretion in statutory interpretation is the specificity of interpretation. Courts determine the general meaning of legislation, whereas agencies are often better equipped to determine interstitial meanings. John H. Reese, Administrative Law Principles and Practice 709-713 (1995).

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III. EPA's AUTHORITY UNDER THE RADON RESEARCH ACT

The parties assert the plain language of the statute determines whether EPA had authority to assess the risks of and classify ETS. The court-agrees. However, the parties, reading the plain language, come to opposite conclusions. Plaintiffs argue EPA exceeded its statutory grant of authority under the Radon Research Act by conducting a risk assessment, making a carcinogen classification, and by engaging in de facto regulation. Plaintiffs also argue Toxic Substance Control Act prohibited EPA's risk assessment of ETS.

A. The Radon Research Act Authorizes EPA's Risk Assessment and Classification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke.
Plaintiffs concede EPA was authorized to conduct research on ETS and indoor air quality but argue EPA's ETS carcinogen risk assessment and carcinogen classification are regulatory activities, not research activities. EPA's Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment, 51 Fed. Reg. 33,992, 33,993 (1986) (Risk Assessment Guidelines) state: "[r]egulatory decision making involves two components: risk assessment and risk management." See also, 60 Fed. Reg. 52,032, 52,034 (1995) (Risk assessment is a component of the regulatory process.).

8

Plaintiffs also rely on the National Resource Council's (NRC) Redbook which recognizes risk assessment as a distinct element of the regulatory process. See NRC, Risk Assessment in the Federal Government; Managing the Process 3 (1983) (NRC Redbook). Plaintiffs argue that since risk assessment is a component of regulatory activity, risk assessment is not authorized research. but rather proscribed regulatory activity.

EPA's Risk Assessment Guidelines state risk assessment incorporates judgmental positions and the Agency's regulatory mission. RiskAssessment Guidelines at 33,994. Plaintiffs also offer evidence that EPA has promulgated regulations for every other substance for which it has conducted a risk assessment and classified the substance as a Group A carcinogen .3 3 Thus,
Plaintiffs conclude that EPA's guidelines and actions demonstrate risk assessment is a regulatory, not research, tool.

In arguing EPA recognizes this distinction between risk assessment and research, Plaintiffs offer evidence that EPA is assessing the risks of several other indoor air pollutants, none of which are being conducted under the authority of the Radon

----------------
3
See Assessing the Effects of-Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Hearing on S. 262 and S. 1680 Before the Subcomm. on Clean Air and Nuclear Reg. of the Sen. Comm. on Env't and Public Works
, 103d Cong. 177, 204-05 (1994) (Browner Hearing Responses).

9




Research Act. Included is evidence that EPA did not conduct its risk assessment of radon under the authority of the Radon Research Act. 4 Instead, EPA relied on the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), 15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., which authorizes EPA to describe "action levels indicating the health risk associated with different levels of radon exposure." TSCA 2663(b)(1).
5

Plaintiffs argue EPA's reliance on TSCA indicates EPA realizes the Radon Research Act does not authorize risk assessments or carcinogenic classifications.

EPA replies that the Radon Research Act provides a broad mandate to conduct activities short of actual regulation. Upon a sparse legislative record and subsequent congressional funding, EPA urges that Congress intended the act to include ETS.

The court is not persuaded by Plaintiffs, arguments or EPA's reliance on what certain members of Congress intended. The plain language of the statute is sufficient to resolve this dispute. In the Radon Research Act, Congress directed EPA to gather information on all aspects of indoor air quality, research indoor

----------------

4
See
Browner Hearing Responses at 190-92.

5 Plaintiffs also provide evidence that EPA did not include the ETS project when providing Congress with a listing of Agency research activity.

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pollutants' effects on health, characterize sources of pollution, and disseminate the findings. Determining whether Congress authorized risk assessments requires defining risk assessment. "Risk assessment is the use of the factual base to define the health effects of exposure of individuals or populations to hazardous materials and situations." NRC Redbook, at 3. -[NRC] use[s] risk assessment to mean the characterization of the potential adverse health effects of human exposures to environmental hazards." Id. at 18. "The qualitative assessment or hazard identification part of risk assessment contains a review of the relevant biological and chemical information bearing on whether or not an agent may pose a carcinogenic hazard." Risk Assessment Guidelines at 33,994.

Risk assessments include several elements: description of the potential adverse health effects based on an evaluation of results of epidemiologic, clinical, toxicologic, and environmental research-* extrapolation from those results to predict the type and estimate the extent of health effects in humans under given conditions of exposure; judgments as to the number and characteristics of persons exposed at various intensities and durations; and summary judgments on the existence and overall magnitude of the public-health problem. Risk assessment also includes characterization of the uncertainties inherent in the process of inferring risk.

NRC Redbook, at 18.

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In researching effects on health, EPA must assess whether pollutants are hazardous to health. Researching whether pollutants are hazardous to health necessarily entails assessing the risk such pollutants pose to health. Thus, researching health effects is indistinguishable from assessing risk to health. Congress, directives to research the effects of indoor air pollution on human health and disseminate the findings encompass risk assessment as defined by NRC and explained by EPA's Risk Assessment Guidelines.

The NRC explains "description of the potential adverse health effects" is a component of risk assessment. Id. The Radon Research Act requires researching pollutants, effects on health and disseminating the findings. The mandate of the Act requires more of EPA than merely describing effects. Congress intended EPA to disseminate findings, or conclusions, based upon the information researched and gathered. Utilizing descriptions of health effects to make findings is risk assessment.

The Radon Research Act contains two independent directives which authorize EPA to classify indoor pollutants as carcinogenic. First, Congress required EPA to characterize sources of indoor air pollution. Radon Research Act 5 403(b)(1). Since they emit gasses and particulates, burning cigarettes are a

12




source of indoor air pollutants. By determining whether these emissions cause cancer in people exposed to burning cigarettes, EPA is characterizing a source of indoor air pollution. Second, Congress required EPA to determine indoor pollutants, effects on health. Id. 403(b)(2). In determining whether health is affected by a pollutant, the researcher must identify whether a causal relationship exists between the pollutant and deteriorating health. Put simply, the researcher must determine how, if at all, a pollutant affects health. Once a researcher has identified how a pollutant harms human health, the risk is most often identified.6 This is especially true regarding carcinogens. The Radon Research Act's general language authorizing EPA to characterize sources of pollutants, research effects on health, and disseminate the findings encompasses classifying pollutants based on their effects.

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6 For example, if research determines a pollutant harms human health by causing malignant tumors, it is ipso facto a carcinogen. See Ted A. Loomis & A. Wallace Hayes, Essentials of Toxicology 232-36 (4th ed. 1996) (tests for carcinogenicity). If research determines the pollutant causes blockage of neurotransmissions, it is ipso facto a neurotoxin. See David R. Franz, et al., Clinical Recognition and management of Patients Exposed to Biological Warfare Agents, 278 JAMA 399 (1997) (discussing botulinum toxins).

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The court is not persuaded by Plaintiffs' evidence showing risk assessment incorporates judgmental positions and an agency's regulatory mission. Researching how a pollutant affects health entails conducting risk assessment. Judgment and inference do not automatically remove risk assessment from what constitutes researching health effects. To the contrary, judgment and inference inhere in the "use of [a] factual base to define the health effects of exposure of individuals or populations to hazardous materials and situations.' NRC Redbook, at 3, 18, 28. "Risk assessment . . . includes characterization of the uncertainties inherent in the process of inferring risk." Id. at 18.

The uncertainties inherent in risk assessment can be grouped in two general categories: missing or ambiguous information on a particular substance and gaps in current scientific theory. When scientific uncertainty is encountered in the risk assessment process, inferential bridges are needed to allow the process to continue . . . . The judgments made by the scientist/risk assessor for each component of risk assessment often entail a choice among several scientifically plausible options; the Committee has designated these inference options.

Id. at 28. In conducting a scientific inquiry into whether a pollutant affects human health, a researcher will have to choose inference options. In fulfilling its obligation under the Radon

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Research Act, EPA must adopt inference options in conducting research, characterizing, and making findings. Inference options that are scientifically plausible and fundamentally fair are part of risk assessment. EPA may conduct risk assessments under the Radon Research Act so long as the assessments do not impede the Act's general requirements of gathering all relevant information, researching, and disseminating the findings.

The court disagrees with Plaintiffs' argument that risk assessment constitutes a regulatory activity and is thus prohibited under the Radon Research Act. Both the NRC's Redbook and EPA's Risk Assessment Guidelines identify regulatory activity as being comprised of two elements: risk assessment and risk management. Prohibition of certain conduct does not include prohibition of lesser included activities.' Prohibiting conduct entails a prohibition against conducting the lesser included activities in concert to arrive at the proscribed result. Risk assessment is a component of regulation. Congress' prohibition of regulation is not a prohibition against the components comprising regulation. In the Radon Research Act, Congress intended EPA to research, collect, and disseminate information

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7 Standing upright is a component of running. A prohibition on running is not also a prohibition on standing.

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and findings on indoor air pollutants' effect on health without engaging in regulating. Risk assessments are incidental to researching effects on health, characterizing sources of pollutants, and making findings. So long as collecting and researching information and disseminating the resulting information are EPA's lodestar, Congress, prohibiting regulation under the Radon Research Act does not preclude risk assessment. The court will review the ETS Risk Assessment to determine whether EPA conducted its research activities in accordance with the Act. 8






Finally, Plaintiffs, evidence of EPA's reliance on other statutes for assessing risks of other indoor air pollutants is not persuasive. In these statutes, Congress granted EPA regulatory power over certain pollutants. EPA has since promulgated regulations pursuant to these statutes. It is unremarkable that when asked its authority to conduct elements of its regulatory process from which regulation occurred, EPA cited the statutes granting full regulatory power.8

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8 Even if it were persuasive evidence that EPA interpreted the Radon Research Act to exclude risk assessment, the court makes its determination based upon the language Congress used, not agency interpretation.

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B. EPA's Environmental Tobacco Smoke Activities Do Not Constitute a Prohibited Regulatory Program Under the Radon Research Act.

Plaintiffs have shown that EPA aggressively disseminated information, coordinated activities with government agencies and non-governmental organizations, and promoted ETS regulation and prohibition.' Plaintiffs argue EPA's conduct constitutes de facto regulatory activity in violation of the Radon Research Act.

----------------
9
See, e.g., Summary of EPA Draft Conclusions and SAB Review, Steven Bayard, EPA ETS Project Manager, ORD Q.9 at 1 (April 4, 1991) (Joint Appendix (JA) 6,700) ("EPA has no regulatory authority on ETS, but is coordinating with OSHA which does have regulatory authority in the workplace."); EPA Memorandum from William G. Rosenberg, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, to Erich W. Bretthauer, Assistant Administrator for Research and Development at 1 (Oct. 7, 1991) (JA 6,696-97) (urging expedition of ETS study; local, state and federal agency projects awaiting its issuance); EPA Memorandum from William G. Rosenberg, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, to Donald G. Barnes, Director, Science Advisory Board (June 28, 1991), and attached ETS Technical Compendium, Draft (May 1991) at 2 (JA 6,755- 56, 6,758) (intended to help state legislators ban smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and public places).

17




EPA's activities did not amount to formal regulation, 10 for it issued no regulations and made no attempt to directly manage ETS risks. EPA's activities constituted de facto regulatory activity but were achieved through means authorized by Congress. Congress prohibited any regulatory program or activity "other than research, development, and related reporting, information dissemination, and coordination activities . . . . Radon Research Act 404 (emphasis added). EPA may be using its authority under the Act more aggressively and effectively than Congress had foreseen, however, such activities are within the law as written. Removal of EPA's authority to engage in de facto regulatory activity under the Radon Research Act requires an act of Congress, not the court's judgment.

C. The Toxic Substance Control Act's Prohibition With Respect to Tobacco Does Not Apply to the Radon Research Act.


In the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), Congress authorized EPA to regulate chemical substances presenting an

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10 Plaintiffs also seek leave to supplement the pleadings, claiming EPA is promulgating indoor air regulations by funding and controlling a private entity that drafts indoor air ventilation standards that are adopted in state and local building codes. The court does not consider these allegations in ruling on the parties, summary judgment motions.

18




unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. 15 U.S.C. 2605. TSCA does not authorize EPA to regulate tobacco products. Id. 2602(2)(B)(iii). Some in Congress have attempted to repeal the tobacco exemption for the purpose of providing EPA with authority to regulate tobacco smoke under TSCA. See 136 Cong. Rec. E2223, E2224 (daily ed. June 28, 1990) (statement of Rep. Luken). More recently, a bill was introduced to amend TSCA "to protect the public from health hazards caused by exposure to [ETS]." S. 1680, 103d Cong., 1st Sess., 139 Cong. Rec. S16222 (daily ed. Nov. 18, 1993). Both bills were introduced after the enactment of the Radon Research Act, and neither passed. Plaintiffs argue the specific language in TSCA, regarding tobacco, takes precedence over the general conflicting language of the Radon Research Act.

The court does not find the conflict Plaintiffs, argument presumes. In the TSCA, Congress directed EPA to prohibit, limit, and regulate the manufacture, processing, or distribution of hazardous chemical substances. Congress exempted tobacco from TSCA's regulatory reach. The Radon Research Act contains no regulatory authority. Compare TSCA 2605 (EPA's requirements in regulating manufacturing, processing, and distribution of hazardous chemical substances), with Radon Research Act 404 (no

19




regulatory authority except research, development, dissemination, and coordination regarding indoor air pollutants).

To the extent the Radon Research Act authorizes de facto regulatory activity, Congress simply excluded tobacco from the definition of chemical substance as used in the TSCA chapter. See TSCA 2602 (definitions "As used in this chapter"). Congress, defining "chemical substance" under the TSCA to exclude tobacco does not mean Congress conclusively removed tobacco from EPA's jurisdiction. it means Congress removed tobacco from the authority granted to EPA under TSCA. Congress did not so limit the definition of "indoor air pollutant" under the Radon Research Act. See generally Coyne Beahm, Inc. v. FDA, 966 F. Supp. 1374, 1379-80 (M.D.N.C. 1997) (declining to infer preemption of FDA authority to regulate tobacco products from other tobaccospecific legislation or Congress' failure to act). There being no conflict between the statutes and finding Congress, TSCA restriction by definition inapplicable to the Radon Research Act, Plaintiffs, argument fails.


IV. EPA's PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE RADON RESEARCH ACT


Plaintiffs argue EPA failed to establish and consult the advisory group mandated by the Radon Research Act, therefore,

20




EPA's conduct under the Act was unlawful and must be vacated. EPA responds by arguing it satisfied its procedural requirements by consulting the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB). EPA states it formed an advisory group within SAB which included representatives of all the statutorily identified constituencies., EPA further argues that even if it did not satisfy the Radon Research Act's procedural requirements: (1) the Act speaks in general terms and committee formation was not a prerequisite to research activity under the Act, (2) Plaintiffs were not prejudiced because EPA utilized public participation and peer review procedures in developing the ETS Risk Assessment. In reply, Plaintiffs analyze SAB and the members of the board which reviewed the ETS Risk Assessment.

A. Background

"[T]he SAB is an independent group of non-Federal government scientists and engineers who are mandated through the Environmental Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1978 to provide advice to the EPA Administrator on technical aspects of issues confronting the Agency." EPA Memorandum from William K. Reilly, Administrator, to Congressman Thomas J. Bliley, Jr., U.S. House of Representatives 1 (Oct. 11, 1990) (Reilly Mem.) (.:A

21




9,310). See also, 42 U.S.C. 4365 (statute authorizing SAB). "The objective of the Board is to provide independent advice . . . . The Board will review scientific issues, provide independent scientific and technical advice on EPA's major programs and perform special assignments . . ." SAB Charter 3, reprinted in, EPA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Advisory Committees 137 (July 1994) (JA 3,445). "[T]he Board augments its standing committee membership with the inclusion of subject-matter experts ('consultants') to provide special insights on particular issues. In identifying appropriate consultants, the [SAB] . . . solicits names of candidates from a variety of public and private sources, which generally include the Agency and the affected parties." Reilly Mem. at 2 (JA 9,311). SAB then attempts to select experts from "either side of the middle of the spectrum of views in the technical community, with few, if any, coming from either end of the spectrum." Id. at 1 (JA 9,310).

In 1986, Congress passed the Radon Research Act which required that EPA "establish . . . an advisory group comprised of individuals representing the States, the scientific community, industry, and public interest organizations to assist [EPA] in carrying out the research program for . . . indoor air quality." Radon Research Act 403(c). The Act also required EPA to submit

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its research plan to SAB. Id. 403(d). In response, "the SAB established the Indoor Air Quality/Total Human Exposure Committee (IAQC) as the forum in which the SAB would consider indoor air issues." Reilly Mem. at 1 (JA 9,310).

An EPA Ethics Advisory sent to IAQC draws the distinction between "representatives" on advisory committees and "Special Government Employees." EPA Memorandum from Robert Flaak, Assistant Staff Director, SAB, to IAQC at Enclosure G11 (June 17, 1992) (JA 10,938-40) (Flaak Mem.). Representatives are those who "appear in a representative capacity to speak for firms or an industry . . . or for any other recognizable group whereas "Special Government Employees" do not. Id. (JA 10,940). Another attachment, captioned "Procedures for Public Disclosures at SAB Meetings," states the IAQC panel members were serving as Special Government Employees, not as representatives: %%SAB members and consultants (M/Cs) carry our [sic] their duties as Special Government Employees (SGE's) and are subject to the COI [conflict of interest] regulations." Id. at Enclosure F (JA

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11 Enclosure G: EPA Memorandum from Gerald Yamada, Principal Deputy General Counsel, Designated Agency Ethics Official, to Deputy Ethics Officials (April 24, 1992).

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10,936). See 18 U.S.C. 202-09 (restrictions on special government employees).

B. Neither the Science Advisory Board Or Its Subcommittee Is the Representative Advisory Group Congress Mandated In the Radon Research Act.

The language used in the Radon Research Act, the nature of SAB, and the composition of the IAQC which reviewed the ETS Risk Assessment, demonstrate that EPA failed to comply with the procedural requirements set forth by Congress. In 403(c) of the Radon Research Act, Congress clearly requires EPA to establish a representative advisory group to assist EPA in carrying out research programs conducted under the Act. The group is to be comprised of representatives from the states, scientific community, industry, and public interest organizations. In the following paragraph, 403(d), Congress requires that EPA submit its research plan "to the EPA Science Advisory Board . . .," which would then submit its comments to Congress. "Where Congress includes particular language in one section of a statute but omits it in another section of the same Act, it is generally presumed that Congress acts intentionally and purposely in the disparate inclusion or exclusion." Brown v.

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Gardner, 513 U.S. 115, 120, 115 S. Ct. 552, 556, 130 L. Ed. 2d 462 (1994) (citation omitted). The presumption is strengthened where, as here, the disparate language is used within the same section. Had Congress meant SAB when requiring a representative advisory group, Congress would have specified SAB as it did in the subsequent paragraph. Further, 403(c) calls upon EPA to establish the advisory group. In 1977, Congress mandated creation of SAB, and EPA complied. Congress' use of "establish" suggests .--hat EPA should create a group. Congress would not likely direct EPA to establish what already exists. A closer examination of SAB verifies the court's statutory construction.

Congress directed EPA to establish and consult a representative group to assist EPA in conducting research under the Radon Research Act. To "represent" or be a "representative," one must possess the ability to "speak or act with authority on behalf of," or "act as [a] substitute or agent" for the person or interest represented.
12 Black's Law Dictionary 1301 (6th ed. 1990). In contrast, EPA designed SAB to provide independent

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12 The legislative history supports this common sense interpretation of "represent." Senator Lautenberg, one of the sponsors of the bill that became the Radon Research Act, said the Advisory Committee was to be "a blue ribbon advisory committee, composed of members" of the specified constituencies. 131 Cong. Rec. S11684 (daily ed. Sept. 18, 1985) (JA 657).

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advice. EPA designated SAB employees as special government employees (SGE's), meaning the employees are temporarily appointed, "as contrasted with members who are designated as 'representatives' . . . ." Flaak Mem. at Enclosure G (JA 10,938). SGE's may not participate in matters that affect their employers, financial interests.
13 Id. (JA 10,939). Congress' requiring a collegium of representatives is incompatible with SAB's independent and aspiringly neutral composition. Both the role Congress assigned to each group and the composition of the group that provided advice on the ETS Risk Assessment provides further evidence of this incompatibility.

Congress set forth in 403(d) a role for the SAB that tracks the SAB's traditional mission: providing independent scientific review and comment on EPA's plan for implementing the research program. In contrast, 403(c) charged the advisory group with representing specified constituencies and providing assistance to EPA in carrying out the research program. Those are two different roles for two different groups.

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13 EPA may waive conflicts where the interest affected is insubstantial or the need for the SGE's service outweighs the conflict.

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The IAQC group that provided advice to EPA on the ETS Risk Assessment was not the representative body required by 403(c). See ETS Risk Assessment at xviii-xx. In the ETS Risk Assessment, EPA lists nine members of IAQC who participated in the reviews of two review drafts. Seven of the members are listed as university professors or members of schools, one was listed as a scientist in a national laboratory, and one was a state employee. Of the nine consultants involved, seven were employed by universities, and two by special interest groups. EPA claims that one of the listed members, Dr. Woods, represented industry. However, this is not possible since Dr. Woods left industry for employment with a university almost a year before the first draft of the ETS Risk Assessment was made available for review by IAQC. See JA 7,063-73 (Dr. Wood's curriculum vita). EPA further asserts that two other individuals represented industry. The ETS Risk Assessment IAQC listing does not contain the names of these individuals. The individuals are not listed in the IAQC ETS reviews, transcripts, 14 nor does EPA assert or direct the court's

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14
See U.S. EPA SAB IAQC ETS Review, I.SAB.16.1 & .2 (December 4 & 5, 1990) (transcript volumes I & 11) (1990 IAQC Transcript) (JA 8,793-9,213); U.S. EPA SAB IAQC ETS Review Panel, II.SAB.8.1 & .2 (July 21 & 22, 1992) (transcript volumes I & II) (1992 IAQC Transcript) (JA 11,641-12,105).

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attention to evidence that these individuals provided any participation in the ETS Risk Assessment.

EPA points out that some panelists were associated with organizations that had received some industry funding pursuant to contract. That does not convert those individuals into industry representatives under 4 03(c). EPA also urges that one of the panelists was selected as a consultant on the recommendation of the tobacco industry. Appropriately, EPA does not attempt to argue that one becomes a member or representative of industry upon a recommendation by industry.

EPA confirmed IAQC's independence from outside interests. When he was preparing the panel for the second public meeting on the draft ETS Risk Assessment, the SAB assistant director included in his transmittal letter a reminder to panel members of their conflict of interest and disclosure obligations:

An area of potential sensitivity in our public meetings is the nature of your interactions with both the Agency and outside interests on a particular matter. At the beginning of the meeting, I will ask each person on the Committee to voluntarily discuss any such areas they wish to identify. . . . Issues of concern can include the extent to which you or your organization have received (or will receive) professional or personal benefits from any individuals, organizations or groups . . . representing any viewpoint concerning the issue(s) under consideration at this meeting.

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Flaak Mem. at 3. At both IAQC public reviews, no one admitted representing industry or any other 403(c) constituency. 15 This result was in accordance with SAB's designed purpose and the EPA ethics advisory sent to IAQC.

After reviewing the Radon Research Act, analyzing the SAB, and reviewing the actual composition of the IAQC, the court has found no evidence that the IAQC involved with the ETS Risk Assessment satisfied 403(c) of the Radon Research Act. EPA's procedures, guidelines, and conduct in the ETS Risk Assessment clearly demonstrate that SAB and IAQC are independent bodies. EPA's argument that IAQC was a representative body is without merit. IAQC's membership did not include individuals from industry or representatives from more than one state. No members were invited to represent or admitted to representing any constituency. Rather, EPA's regulations prohibited parties with meaningful outside interests from participating. Accordingly, EPA failed to comply with the requirements of 403(c).

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15 See 1990 IAQC Transcript at 11-38 (JA 8,803-30); 1992 IAQC Transcript at 16-29 (JA 11,655-668).

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