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Document Type

Comments

Abstract

Chevron deference is one of the most contentious and misunderstood doctrines in administrative law. Justice John Paul Stevens’ opinion in the watershed 1984 case Chevron, USA, Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. established a two-step framework for courts to use in evaluating agency rule-making authority. That clear two-step process has undergone rewording and revision over the years that has resulted in a lack of doctrinal clarity. On April 11, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided Waterkeeper Alliance v. EPA, a challenge brought by environmentalists to an EPA rule that exempted farmers from reporting certain types of pollution. Purporting to apply Chevron, the D.C. Circuit determined that the EPA did not possess the authority to pass the exemption. This Comment argues that although the D.C. Circuit arrived at the correct result, it did so in a doctrinally confusing manner by not clearly delineating the Chevron two-step test, thereby potentially complicating future Chevron analysis.

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