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Ignoring the Courts: A Contextual Analysis of Administrative Nonacquiescence

Apr 01, 2020

Thomas W. Matthew

Volume 46 (2019) - Issue 2

Increasingly complex environmental challenges reveal the necessity of creative, decisive regulatory solutions. Effective public policy responses to the distributional effects of a changing climate require nuanced analysis and collaborative effort by each branch of government. The analysis supporting the D.C. Circuit’s recent endorsement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new policy of intercircuit nonacquiescence falls short of the nuance required to address the issues implicated. Specifically, in National Environmental Development Association’s Clean Air Project v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit failed to evaluate the significance of agency nonacquiescence within the context of the ongoing Environmental Federalism debate. Continued debate over whether environmental regulations should be uniform and centrally enforced is the direct result of interdisciplinary efforts to analyze and mitigate human impacts on planetary health. This Note argues that a more prudent analysis of agency nonacquiescence would be context-specific, considering not only mere legal permissibility, but advisability as well.