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Fertilizer or Solid Waste: How far does RCRA spread? (ELI Professional Practice Seminar)


February 26, 2015

An ELI Professional Practice Seminar

On January 14, 2015, the Eastern District of Washington held that Cow Palace Dairy, LLC is liable under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for storing, applying, and managing manure in a way that poses a substantial and imminent endangerment to public health in violation of open dumping provisions.

This opinion is significant because it defines Cow Palace’s manure as solid waste under RCRA. The court focused on the manner in which Cow Palace stored and used the manure to determine that RCRA exemptions, such as the agricultural waste exemption for fertilizer, did not apply.

Our panelists held a dynamic discussion on the definition of solid waste under RCRA. What are the confines or lack thereof for the definition of solid waste? Why can the same byproduct, in this case manure, be regulated waste in one case and unregulated fertilizer in a separate case? What does this case mean for RCRA practitioners, the regulated industry, non-profit advocacy and government regulation moving forward?

Our expert panelists discussed the answers to these questions and many more.

Bruce Myers, Senior Attorney, ELI (moderator)
Jessica Culpepper, Food Safety and Health Attorney, Public Justice
Craig Johnston, Professor of Law and Clinical Director, Earthrise Law Center, Lewis & Clark Law School
Dale Mullen, Partner, McGuire Woods LLP

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