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West Virginia Mfrs. Ass'n v. West Virginia

Citation: 14 ELR 20001
No. Nos. 81-2231(L) et al., 714 F.2d 308/(4th Cir., 08/03/1983)

The court upholds the West Virginia Hazardous Chemical Substances Act (HCSA), a "right-to-know" law, against state and federal constitutional challenges but strikes regulations promulgated under the Act for procedural flaws. Addressing the constitutional challenges, the court holds that the title of the Act sufficiently expresses its content as required by the state constitution. The court rules that whether a provision of the HCSA allowing the implementing agency to expand the list of regulated chemicals is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power in the Act is moot, as the state now requires legislative approval of regulations. The court rules that the HCSA provision directing the agency to make a list of regulated chemicals provides constitutionally adequate standards fettering the agency's discretion. The court also rules, however, that the regulations that the agency promulgated are invalid because the agency failed to file findings and determinations in the state register as required by state law.

The court rules that the Act was not preempted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act and its implementing regulations since the federal regulations deal with workplace exposure, not disclosure. Also, the HCSA is not unconstitutionally vague and does not violate equal protection since there are reasonable bases for excluding certain industries and facilities with few employees.

Counsel for Appellant
Robert B. King
King, Betts & Allen
P.O. Box 3394, Charleston WV 25301
(304) 345-7250

George G. Guthrie
Spilman, Thomas, Battle & Klostermeyer
P.O. Box 273, Charleston WV 25321
(304) 344-4081

Counsel for Appellee
Leonard B. Knee, Dennis M. Abrams, Ass't Attorneys General; Mary-Win O'Brien
E-26 State Capitol, Charleston WV 25305
(304) 348-2021