National Resource Council

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Critical Essay: Chevron USA v. National Resources Defense Council Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council was a case in which the United Supreme Court set forth the legal test for determining whether to grant deference to a government agency’s interpretation of a statute which it administers. Chevron is the Court’s clearest articulation of the doctrine of “administrative deference”. The Court itself has used the phrase “Chevron deference” in more recent cases. Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 impose certain requirements on States that have not achieved the national air quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency in earlier legislation. The Amendments required the “nonattainment” states to establish a permit program regulating “new or modified major stationary sources” of air pollution, pursuant to stringent conditions. The EPA decision to allow states to treat all pollution-emitting devices within the same industry grouping as though within a single “bubble” was challenged. Policy arguments are more properly addressed to legislators or administrators not to judges. In these cases, the administrator’s interpretation represents a reasonable accommodation of manifesty competing and is entitled to deference: the regulatory scheme is technical and complex, the agency considered that matter in a detailed and reasonable fashion, and the decision involves reconciling conflicting policies. The EPA promulgated a regulation permitting states to adopt a plan-wide definition of the term “stationary source”. This definition allowed existing plant that contained several pollution-emitting devices to install or modify one piece of equipment without a permit in the overall plant emissions were not increased by the alteration- a bubble concept. The National Resource Defense Council Inc. (Respondents) petitioned for the review in the Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia Circuit, and the Court of Appeals set aside the regulation. The...
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