(Reuters) – Environmental groups on Tuesday sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over pollution guidelines it issued earlier this year, claiming it failed to update limits on the release of toxic chemicals in wastewater from oil refineries, plastic manufacturing plants, and other industrial facilities.
The groups said in a petition to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the EPA violated provisions of the Clean Water Act that require the federal environmental regulator to tighten pollution controls every five years if new technology is available.
In some instances, the groups said, technology requirements have not been updated for nearly 40 years for industrial plants that release chemicals like cyanide, benzene, mercury, and chlorides through billions of gallons of wastewater.
They are seeking an order forcing the agency to revisit the regulations, including by analyzing whether new technologies are available that could cut pollution discharges at over 1,000 facilities across the country.
An EPA representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
The petition was filed by a group that includes the Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, Food & Water Watch, and other U.S. environmental organizations.
They claim the EPA issued effluent emission guidelines earlier this year that failed to limit pollution from seven regulated industry sectors with big emissions footprints, posing a variety of environmental and health concerns.
Among those sectors are plastic manufacturing plants, fertilizer production plants, oil refineries, metal manufacturing plants, and pesticide plants. Those facilities can release toxic per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, as well as lead, benzene, nitrogen, toxic metals, and other toxic substances, the groups said.
The case is Waterkeeper Alliance et al. V. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency et al., 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Case No. Not immediately available.
For the environmental groups: Jennifer Duggan, Meg Parish, and Sarah Kula of the Environmental Integrity Project, and Hannah Connor of the Center for Biological Diversity.
For the EPA: Counsel information not immediately available.
Reporting by Clark Mindock
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