Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, Inc.



The non-delegation doctrine allows Congress to give agencies some discretion in setting regulations, but they may not consider financial effects when making environmental regulations.


Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency was tasked with creating National Ambient Air Quality Standards for the review of Whitman, the agency’s Administrator, who had the power to revise them as needed. The American Trucking Association, Inc. argued that the EPA should have taken into account the financial impact of implementing these standards. It contended that the Clean Air Act contained no intelligible principle that the EPA could use in determining the NAAQs. While the lower court ruled that Congress had violated the non-delegation doctrine by granting its legislative power to Whitman under the Clean Air Act, it also held that the agency could avoid a constitutional violation if it used a limited interpretation of the potentially problematic provisions in the Act.