24 Hous. L. Rev. 97 (1987)
Responsibilities of Regulatory Agencies under Environmental Laws

handle is hein.journals/hulr24 and id is 109 raw text is: PAPER
RESPONSIBILITIES OF REGULATORY
AGENCIES UNDER ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
The Honorable Antonin Scalia*
The subject I have been assigned to address is Responsibili-
ties of Regulatory Agencies with regard to environmental risks
and liabilities. To the judicial mind, at least, the topic summons
forth-particularly in this era of deregulation-thoughts of courts
holding the agencies to account for the strict implementation of
environmental protections that Congress has enacted and that (ac-
cording to some) current administrators have willfully ignored. In-
deed, it calls to mind my colleague Skelly Wright's stirring pro-
logue to his opinion in the Calvert Cliffs case, the progenitor of the
long and numerous line of NEPA (National Environmental Policy
Act)1 cases:
Several recently enacted statutes attest to the commitment of the
Government to control, at long last, the destructive engine of ma-
terial progress. But it remains to be seen whether the promise
of this legislation will become a reality. Therein lies the judicial
role .... Our duty ... is to see that important legislative pur-
poses, heralded in the halls of Congress, are not lost or misdi-
rected in the vast hallways of the federal bureaucracy.2
The burden of my remarks today is that an agency's responsibili-
ties are not always that simple to discern; and that even where
* Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court. Formerly, Judge on the United
States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A.B. 1957, Georgetown; LL.B. 1960. Harvard
Law School.
1. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4361 (1982) (declar-
ing a national policy to encourage productive harmony between man and his environment,
promoting efforts to prevent damage to the environment, and establishing a Council on En-
vironmental Quality).
2. Calvert Cliffs' Coordinating Comm., Inc. v. United States Atomic Energy Comm'n,
449 F.2d 1109, 1111 (D.C. Cir. 1971) (footnotes omitted).

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