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Clean Air Standards Stricken As Unconstitutional Delegation of Power to EPA
Description Appeals court struck down new clean air standards issued by EPA as based upon an unconstitutional delegation of power to the agency by Congress. The agency could overcome the problem by issuing standards based on clear principles related to public health, which it failed to do.
Topic Environmental Law
Key Words Clean Air Act; Unconstitutional Delegation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to issue national ambient air quality standards for certain pollutants. EPA issued NAAQS for particulate matter (PM) and ozone; various groups challenged the regulations.
Decision The regulations are stricken because the EPA's reading of the Clean Air Act effected an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. The regulations are remanded to the EPA to develop new regulations based on a permissible construction of the statute. Congress wrote an overly broad statute, which amounts to an unconstitutional delegation of power to the agency. That problem can be overcome if the agency develops a clear, rational standard upon which it bases regulations. Here, EPA failed to articulate intelligible principles to show that public health was the basis upon which its regulations were based.
Citation Am. Trucking Assn. v. U.S. EPA, 175 F.3d 1027 (D.C. Cir., 1999)

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