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Question: Midwest Suspension and Brake supplied rebuilt brake

Midwest Suspension and Brake supplied rebuilt brake shoes for heavy-duty trucks. During an EPA inspection, numerous emissions of asbestos were documented, and detectable amounts of asbestos were found on the shop floor. The EPA then issued a “finding” that the company had violated the Clean Air Act by releasing hazardous air pollutants. The EPA issued an administrative order (AO) requiring that (a) wastes fall into a sturdy cardboard box, instead of falling to the floor; (b) the box be securely closed and wrapped so that it would not leak when discarded; and (c) the box bear a warning label. The AO also required that the floor be vacuumed, not swept, and that the vacuum residue be tightly sealed before disposal. Finally, the AO mandated that asbestos waste be separately disposed of, without compacting, at a landfill. Midwest agreed to comply with the Clean Air Act and the AO. Later EPA inspections found that the conditions at the Midwest facility had not been materially corrected. Asbestos-containing materials were being dropped on the shop floor, and the floor was being broom cleaned rather than vacuumed. Because Midwest had failed to correct the problems, the EPA filed suit against it in federal court, seeking injunctive relief as well as civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day for each violation. The federal district court found that Midwest had violated the Clean Air Act and ordered it to pay a $50,000 civil penalty. Midwest appealed, contending, among other things, that it did not fall under the Clean Air Act. Should Midwest be bound by the dictates of the Clean Air Act? [United States v. Midwest Suspension and Brake, 49 F.3d 197 (6th Cir. 1994)]
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