Friday, November 1, 2013

American Mining Congress v. Mine Safety & Health Administration case brief

American Mining Congress v. Mine Safety & Health Administration case brief summary
995 F.2d 1106 (1993)

Petitioner mining associations sought the answer, against respondents, United States Department of Labor and others, to whether Program Policy Letters (PPLs) of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), stating the agency's position that x-ray readings qualify as "diagnoses" of lung disease within the meaning of agency reporting regulations, were interpretive rules under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

The mining associations claim that MSHA did not follow the notice and comment requirements of 5 U.S.C.S. § 553 in issuing any of the three PPLs, but MSHA contended it was exempt from the notice and comment requirements on the interpretive rule exemption of 5 U.S.C.S. § 553(b)(3)(A).

  • The court concluded that the PPLs were interpretive rules, therefore the petitions for review were improper. 
  • The court held that whether the purported interpretive rule had "legal effect," turned on whether in the absence of the rule there would not have been an adequate legislative basis for enforcement or agency action to confer benefits or ensure the performance of duties, whether the agency had published the rule in the Code of Federal Regulations, whether the agency had explicitly invoked its general legislative authority, or whether the rule effectively amended a prior legislative rule. 
  • If the answer was yes to any of the questions, a legislative, not interpretive rule was found. 
  • The substantive validity of the interpretation was not challenged.


Petitions for review were dismissed.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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