Saturday, May 17, 2014

Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, Inc. case brief summary

Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, Inc., 2001
·         Facts: Clean Air Act - the EPA must establish uniform national standards at a level that is requisite to protect public health from the adverse effects of the pollutant in the ambient air.
·         Issue: whether §109(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act delegates too much power to the Administrator of the EPA authority to promulgate national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).
·         Scalia: Did the statute delegate legislative power to the agency? NO
§         There is an intelligible principle: CAA's language, requiring that NAAQS that are "requisite to protect the public health" with an "adequate margin of safety" meets that test. means sufficient, but not more than necessary.
§         Compares to other cases. AG allowed to control drugs if doing so was "necessary to avoid imminent hazard to the public safety." OSHA: requiring the agency to "set the standard which most adequately assures, to the extent feasible, on the basis of the best available evidence, that no employee will suffer any impairment of health." 
§         Degree of discretion: varies according to scope of power congressionally conferred. If it doesn't overstep those limitations of agency's discretion, then permissible delegation of power.
§         Court never demanded a "determinate criterion" by the statutes for saying "how much regulated harm is too much."
·         Therefore, ok to have EPA make judgments on adverse health effects of these pollutants at any amount greater than zero. 
§         EPA has certain degree of discretion… to set air quality standards at level that is "requisite" - not lower or higher than necessary - to protect pub health with adequate margin of safety, fits comfortably within the scope of discretion permitted by precedent. 
·         Stevens: concurring in part, concurring in judgment
§         It is legislative power: If Congress prescribed NAAQS, it would be legislative power. Same as an agency exercising rulemaking authority pursuant to a permissible delegation from Congress. Call it what it is. 
§         No harm in this delegation: It is faithful to the Constitution: no limit to the authority of delegating legislative powers.

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