9 ELR 20612 | Environmental Law Reporter | copyright © 1979 | All rights reserved

Chrysler Corp. v. Environmental Protection Agency

Nos. 76-1569; -1575; -1576; -1582 (D.C. Cir. April 9, 1979)

ELR Digest

Truck manufacturers filed petitions for review of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations which establish enforcement procedures and warranty requirements for compliance with noise emission standards for medium and heavy trucks under the Noise Control Act of 1972. The court determines that it lacks jurisdiction to rule on the validity of the enforcement regulations, viewing §§ 6 and 16(a) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4905 and 4915, as making appellate review available only for regulations establishing noise emission standards, testing procedures, and requirements relating to manufacturers' instructions. The court specifically rejects EPA's assertion that the enforcement regulations constitute either noise emission standards or regulations under § 6 or "action[s] of the Administrator . . . in promulgating" such a standard or regulation, labeling the Agency's analogy to cases decided under similar provisions in the Clean Air Act and Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments inapposite. The court notes in addition that by interpreting broadly its exclusive jurisdictional mandate under § 16, it would increase the number of EPA actions which under § 16(a) are made expressly unreviewable in later enforcement proceedings. This would present a substantial due process question, and thus indicates the propriety of a narrow construction of § 16(a).

Determining that it does have jurisdiction to review the warranty regulations because they interpret terms contained in § 6(d)(1) and are thus promulgated under § 6, the court goes on to hold erroneous EPA's imposition of the statutory warranty obligation solely upon the manufacturer of unfinished trucks. The statutory language encompasses every manufacturer that assembles components into the finished product. Moreover, the Agency lacks authority to make the incomplete vehicle manufacturer liable for noise emission violations attributable to the subsequent manufacturer who finishes the vehicle. The warranty regulations are thus remanded to the Agency.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (31 pp. $3.75, ELR Order No C-1174).

Counsel for Petitioners
Howard P. Willens, Deane C. Siemer, Phillip L. Radoff
Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
1666 K St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 872-6000

Reuben L. Hedlund, Laurence H. Levine, Frazer F. Hilder
Hedlund, Hunter & Lynch
Sears Tower, Suite 7820, Chicago IL 60606
(312) 876-7700

Edward W. Warren, Hammond E. Chaffetz
Kirkland & Ellis
1776 K St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 857-5000

Counsel for Respondents
Ronald S. Naveens
Office of the General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC 20460
(202) 755-2511

James W. Moorman, Ass't Attorney General
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2701

Robinson, J., joined by MacKinnon & Robb, JJ.


9 ELR 20612 | Environmental Law Reporter | copyright © 1979 | All rights reserved