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Public Citizen v. United States Trade Representative

5 F.3d 549 (1993)

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Public Citizen v. United States Trade Representative

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

5 F.3d 549 (1993)

Facts

In 1990 the United States, Mexico, and Canada began negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which would create a free-trade zone among the countries. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) (defendant) represented the United States in negotiations. While negotiating NAFTA, USTR did not create an environmental-impact statement for NAFTA. In 1992 President Clinton signed NAFTA. Before President Clinton sent NAFTA to Congress for approval, Public Citizen (plaintiff) filed a lawsuit in federal district court against USTR, asserting that USTR was required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) to create an environmental-impact statement for NAFTA. NEPA required federal agencies proposing legislation to create an environmental-impact statement analyzing the environmental effects of the proposed legislation. USTR moved to dismiss the case, arguing that its failure to create an environmental-impact statement was not a final agency action that was reviewable by a court under § 704 of the Administrative Procedure Act, because the action that affected Public Citizen—the act of sending NAFTA to Congress for approval—would be performed by the president, not USTR. The district court granted summary judgment for Public Citizen and ordered USTR to create an environmental-impact statement for NAFTA. USTR appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mikva, C.J.)

Concurrence (Randolph, J.)

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