William H. Rodgers, Jr., A Hard Look at Vermont Yankee: Environmental Law under Close Scrutiny, 67 Geo. L.J. 699 (1979), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/272
Georgetown Law Journal
judicial review, National Environmental Policy Act, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
In Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the District of Columbia Circuit in two cases that closely scrutinized decisions of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and, in so doing, questioned settled habits of judicial review of administrative action affecting the environment. In this article Professor Rodgers analyzes four implications of Vermont Yankee—substantive judicial review under the National Environmental Policy Act, judicial imposition of procedures upon agencies beyond the statutory minima of the Administrative Procedure Act, the obligation of the agencies to consider alternatives in the environmental impact statement without regard to the initiative of the parties, and the scope of alternatives properly addressed in the impact statement. Professor Rodgers concludes that Vermont Yankee is out of step with the dominant strains of the close scrutiny doctrine and, for this reason, suggests that the decision is likely to be isolated and confined.