Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

In re In re Permanent Surface Mining Regulation Litig.

Citation: 10 ELR 20526
No. No. 80-1308, 627 F.2d 1346/14 ERC 1813/(D.C. Cir., 07/10/1980) Rev'd

The court holds that the Secretary of the Interior, in promulgating minimum requirements for state regulatory programs under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, may not demand that more information be obtained from applicants for coal-mining permits than that specified in §§ 507 and 508 of the Act. Basing its reversal of the district court's decision, 10 ELR 20208, principally upon a broad reading of Congress' intent to vest primary authority for surface mining control in the states, the court reasons that the Secretary is limited to assuring that the detailed requirements set forth in the Act are contained in state programs. The Secretary's supervisory authority may not otherwise interfere with state discretion.

In a concurring opinion, Judge MacKinnon observes that the arguably unreasonably short compliance period set by Congress for promulgating the federal regulatory program does not justify construing the Act against its clear terms to vest federal authorities with a broad regulatory power that would stifle local initiative. In dissent, Judge Greene contends that the Secretary acted within his wide discretion to establish detailed regulations reasonably related to the principal statutory objective of minimizing the adverse effects of strip mining.

Counsel for Appellant
Warner W. Gardner, I. Michael Greenberger
Shea & Gardner
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 828-2000

Counsel for Appellee
Michael A. McCord; James W. Moorman, Ass't Attorney General; Carl Strass, Alfred T. Ghiorzi
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2774

Norman L. Dean Jr.
National Wildlife Federation
1424 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 797-6845

Before TAMM and MacKINNON, Circuit Judges, and HAROLD H. GREENE,* U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia.