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Quivira Mining Co. v. EPA

Citation: 14 ELR 20447
No. No. 81-1630, 728 F.2d 477/20 ERC 1601/(10th Cir., 03/02/1984)

The court rules that the courts of appeals have exclusive jurisdiction to hear challenges to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for permissible doses of radiation from uranium fuel cycle operations. The court rules that the 1970 Presidential Reorganization Plan that transferred radiation standard authority to EPA was valid since the transferred function already was authorized by Congress and the Plan was properly introduced. Next, the court rules that the Reorganization Plan did not affect the substance of the judicial review requirements under the Atomic Energy Act. The Reorganization Act, under which the President acted in 1970, required that programs and functions transferred from one agency to another continue intact. Had the regulations been promulgated by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) prior to the reorganization, they would have been subject to court of appeals review. That the Reorganization Plan is silent on the question does not by inference erase the preexisting rule of exclusive court of appeals review. The court rules that the Energy Reorganization Act, in which Congress split the AEC into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) and expressly required exclusive court of appeals review only for NRC actions, does not preclude exclusive court of appeals review of EPA actions. Although courts have interpreted Congress' silence on judicial review of ERDA actions as giving the district courts jurisdiction, the decisions are distinguishable from the instant case. Congress has the power to change judicial review requirements and it is appropriate to read an intent to do so into Congress' silence on the subject in the Energy Reorganization Act. The 1970 Reorganization Plan, on the other hand, was a presidential action governed by the Reorganization Act, which requires continuity of existing programs. Finally, the court holds that it will not make an exception to the exclusivity rule of review in the absence of incidence that EPA acted beyond its authority.

Counsel for Appellants
Peter J. Nickles, Charles H. Montange, Kenneth E. Carroll
Covington & Burling
P.O. Box 7566, Washington DC 20044
(202) 662-6000

G. Stanley Crout, C. Mott Woolley
Stephenson, Carpenter, Crout & Olmsted
P.O. Box 669, Santa Fe NM 87504-0669
(505) 982-4611

Counsel for Appellees
John L. Wittenborn, Donald W. Stever Jr., Nancy B. Firestone, Rosanne Mayer
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2177

Christopher C. Herman
Office of the General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC 20460
(202) 382-7625

Before BARRETT, DOYLE and SEYMOUR, Circuit Judges.