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Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. United States Department of Labor

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
174 F.3d 206 (1999)


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the United States Department of Labor (Department of Labor) (defendant), issued a directive targeting dangerous work sites. The directive announced OSHA’s intent to inspect specific dangerous work sites, but gave employers the opportunity to remove their work sites from OSHA’s inspection list by participating in a Cooperative Compliance Program (CCP). To participate in the CCP, employers had to implement health and safety standards that exceeded those required by the law. Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 553, prior to adopting a new rule, a federal agency must publish notice of the rule and then allow for public comment. Under § 553(b)(A), agencies could forgo this notice-and-comment proceeding only when promulgating general statements of policy. The Chamber of Commerce of the United States (plaintiff) sued the Department of Labor, arguing that OSHA’s directive was defective, because it failed to follow the APA’s notice-and-comment procedures.

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