Mercatus Center Highlights Flaws in EPA Regulations

Posted: April 10, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Mercatus Center is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to establish a more sensible and accountable regulatory system within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal government as a whole. In a recent amicus brief filed before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Studies Program continued its efforts to hold the EPA accountable to the public interest by supporting a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s decision to have EPA rework its ozone and particulate matter regulations.

“As the appeals court ruled and as we argued in earlier comments to EPA, these regulations need to be rewritten in a manner that does not disregard their significant costs and adverse health effects they could impose,” says Wendy Gramm, director of the Regulatory Studies Program.

Last May, the appeals court ruled that in setting the ozone and particulate matter standards, EPA had construed sections of the Clean Air Act “so loosely as to render them unconstitutional delegations of legislative power.” The appeals court also concluded that EPA could not ignore the screening effects that ozone has in preventing melanomas, skin cancers, and cataracts. These opinions are consistent with arguments made by the Mercatus Center in public interest comments submitted to EPA on these rules in 1997. The EPA appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which is expected to decide whether to hear the case by late spring.

“The Supreme Court should hear this extremely important case, as it will not only affect how the EPA conducts itself, but will provide guidance for all government agencies on the amount of authority they have,” says Gramm. “Congress often makes laws that are somewhat vague, leaving it to the unelected agency officials to develop the specifics of the law or regulation. Just how far agencies can go will be, in part, answered by the Supreme Court’s decision in this case.”

In preparing the brief, Gramm and Mercatus Center senior research fellow Susan Dudley teamed up with law professor Ernest Gellhorn. For more information or a copy of the brief, contact Laura O’Quinn at x34945.

Write to at