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Release of Documents in Utility ELG Suit Blocked
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Release of Documents in Utility ELG Suit Blocked


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has denied a motion from utilities seeking to make public documentation and background material underlying EPA's water effluent limitation guideline (ELG) for the utility sector, rejecting without comment industry's arguments that the agency withheld information crucial to the groups' pending rule challenge.


The order, issued on September 21, 2016, denies a motion from the utility groups suing over the ELG that sought to add a host of new documents to the case's administrative record. The court instead backed arguments by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on EPA's behalf that the material was properly withheld as confidential business information (CBI).


The 5th Circuit also rejected an alternative proposal offered by DOJ, where the agency would release the contested documents under seal, with confidentiality enforced through a protective order. Instead, the case will proceed based only on the documents EPA originally put into the record.

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