The Administrative Procedure Act and the Evolution of Environmental Law

Environment green puzzle

An overview of how the APA has been used by the courts to resolve disputes involving the federal agencies.

September 19, 2022
Anthony B. Cavender - Gravel2Gavel

Enacted in 1946, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) has provided a lasting framework for federal agency rulemaking and adjudication, as well as establishing the power of the federal courts to exercise judicial review over these actions of the federal bureaucracy. The APA is codified at 5 U.S.C. §§ 551–559, and §§ 701-706. There have been very few amendments made to the APA over these years, which indicates that Congress is reasonably satisfied with its administration and implementation.

What follows is an overview of how the APA has been used by the courts to resolve disputes involving the federal agencies, with particular attention being paid to the development of environmental law and practice. While there have been very few amendments to the statute, the courts have been free to enlarge upon the sometimes-opaque text of the APA to, in effect, change the law, even in an era when “textual fidelity” to the language of the statute is the prevalent approach.

Mr. Cavender may be contacted at anthony.cavender@pillsburylaw.com



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