Congress vs. agency mission

 

I wonder if under President Donald Trump we’ll go back to Congress deciding every policy detail and micromanaging federal agencies, creating massive stagnation in light of a Congress that views collaboration as capitulation to the enemy (“Shifting scales,” HCN, 5/1/17). I don’t have a legal background but I can’t see that the Chevron decision is a departure from long-held views of separation of powers, as it seems to stay within the guidelines set up by the Legislature for government agencies. Many laws appear to be set up purposefully broad so that the specific expertise of agencies can be utilized. Without the Chevron decision, the Endangered Species Act’s protection of wildlife habitat and the Environmental Protection Agency’s protection of clean air, including carbon dioxide regulation, could be eliminated, which would be a disaster for endangered species and the climate. So the question is how to balance the separation of powers doctrine with government agencies trying to effectively fulfill their mission.

Jim Bolen
Durango, Colorado