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A federal appeals court upheld on Friday new federal rules, challenged by the chemical industry, that impose cradle-to-grave regulations on any mixture of hazardous and nonhazardous wastes. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the Environmental Protection Agency submitted sufficient evidence to show that some mixtures and derivatives can have the same impact on public health and environment as the undiluted hazardous waste itself. It rejected the challenge by the American Chemistry Council. “Some — perhaps most — mixtures and derivatives maintain the characteristics of their parent hazardous waste,” Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote. “We think the Congress wanted the EPA … to err on the side of caution.” The Bush administration in May 2001 formally affirmed the government’s definition of hazardous waste to include, with some exceptions, “a mixture of solid waste and one or more hazardous wastes.” The same language had been adopted nearly a decade earlier on an interim basis. EPA estimated then that the new rules would affect an additional 3.6 million tons of chemicals annually, or little more than 1 percent of all hazardous wastes in the nation. Nearly all the chemicals are liquids, EPA says, and 1 percent is sludge. The American Chemistry Council, an Arlington, Va.-based trade association for the chemical industry, challenged the definition, saying Congress could not have meant to include in the definition a solid waste that doesn’t pose a threat to public health or the environment. The council also had said the rule imposed a significant cost on industry without public benefit. Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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