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In re Permanent Surface Mining Regulation Litigation

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
653 F.2d 514 (1981)


Facts

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 established standards for the coal mining industry to protect the environment as well as public health and safety. The Act vested the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) (defendant) with oversight over state regulatory programs. Before the Secretary approved a state program, the Secretary must have deemed the program sufficient to carry out the purposes of the Act. In accordance with this requirement, the Secretary issued regulations setting forth minimum information requirements for permit applications submitted to state regulatory agencies. The Secretary’s regulations required more information than explicitly required by the Act. Interested persons (plaintiffs) challenged the regulations in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing the Secretary did not have the power to regulate on that subject. The district court held the Act provided the Secretary the power to issue its regulations on that subject. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Mikva, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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