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Congress Did Not Improperly Delegate Legislative Authority to EPA
Description The Supreme Court held that when Congress granted the EPA power to set air quality standards, in which it gave the agency broad powers and did not require cost considerations, it did not improperly delegate its legislative authority to an agency.
Topic Administrative Law
Key Words Clean Air Act; Delegation; Regulations; Costs
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires the EPA to issue national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for pollutants for which air quality criteria have been issued. The EPA issued revised ozone and particulate matter NAAQS, which were challenged by several private parties and states. The appeals court set aside the new standards, holding that Congress violated the Constitution by delegating legislative power to the EPA. The court also held that the EPA must consider the costs of implementing NAAQS. The EPA appealed to the Supreme Court.
Decision Reversed. The CAA does not delegate legislative power to the EPA in violation of the Constitution. When conferring decision making authority to agencies, Congress must lay down an intelligible principle to which the person or body authorized to act is directed to conform. An agency cannot cure an unlawful delegation of legislative power by adopting in its discretion a limiting construction of the statute. The limits that Congress set for the EPA are within the limits of the Court's nondelegation precedents. The regulations in question were properly issued under EPA's decision process as the Court has discussed before in the Chevron case. The CAA bars the EPA from considering the costs of implementing NAAQS that it establishes since Congress must explicitly authorize cost considerations for an agency to consider them.
Citation Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, Inc., - S.Ct. - (2001 WL 182549, Sup. Ct., 2001)

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