Federal Statutes on Environmental Protection: Regulation in the Public Interest

By Warren Freedman | Go to book overview

Act, is not a source of subjectmatter jurisdiction to review federal agency actions. The 1976 amendment 87 eliminated the requirement that the amount in controversy must exceed $10,000 as a prerequisite to the maintenance of any action, and expressly conferred jurisdiction on the federal courts to review agency action, "regardless of whether the Administrative Procedure Act of its own force may serve as a juridictional predicate." 88

The same 1976 amendment of Section 702 of the Administrative Procedure Act made the defense of sovereign immunity unavailable in

an action in a court of the United States seeking relief other than monetary damages and starting a claim that an agency or an officer or employee thereof acted or failed to act in an official capacity or under color of legal authority. . . . The United States may be named as a defendant in any such action, and a judgment or decree may be entered against the United States. 89


5
Air Quality Act (1967)

The Air Quality Act (1967)90 is today part and parcel of the basic Clean Air Act, 91 as amended by the Clean Air Act (1963)92 with amendments made by the Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act (1965), 93 the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1966, 94 the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970, 95 the Comprehensive Health Manpower Training Act (1971), 96 the Energy Supply and Environmental Coordination Act (1974), 97 the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977, 98 and the Safe Drinking Water Act (1977). 99

Sections 1857 to 18571 of Title 42 of U.S. Code, now cited as Sections 7401 et seq. of Tide 42, contain the original Air Quality Act (1967) and are delineated hereinafter at Section 14 under "Clean Air Act (1977)."

A very significant aspect of this 1967 statute is found in one of its four basic purposes, to wit: "protect and enhance the quality of the nation's air," which served as the basis of the landmark case of Sierra Club v. Ruckelshaus . 100 This decision stopped EPA from approving State Implementation Plans, or SIPs, 101 for the control of air pollution that did not contain provisions to prevent significant deterioration of clean air. The result was the origin of PSD, or Prevention of Significant Deterioration, promulgated by EPA in the form of regulations in 1974. 102 These EPA regulations were amended from time to time 103 and today constitute effective prevention of degradation of air that is already cleaner than that required by NAAQS, or National Ambient Air Quality Standards. 104

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