Re “Bad Decision on Clean Air” (editorial, May 19) : The Clean Air Act gave the Environmental Protection Agency a vague mandate to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety. In so doing, Congress punted on the tough issues, like deciding how clean is clean enough. Given this free hand, the unelected and largely unaccountable bureaucrats at the agency decided to tighten the already strict existing standards, despite the agency’s evidence of high costs and modest benefits of doing so.
The nondelegation doctrine, which a Federal court has now invoked to invalidate two air-quality regulations imposed in 1997, is one way to restore accountability in government. Another is to require Congress to affirmatively approve all major rules promulgated by Federal agencies.