Students Challenging Regulatory Agency Procedures (SCRAP), United States v. 412 U.S. 669 (1973)

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Environmentalists sued to force the Interstate Commerce Commission to suspend a freight rate surcharge announced by the nation's railroads. Plaintiffs claimed the surcharge would raise the cost of transporting recyclable materials and thus injure their recreational and aesthetic use of areas around Washington, D.C., by increasing pollution from waste disposal and causing greater consumption of natural resources.

In one of its most generous rulings on standing, the Court held that environmental advocates could raise a statutory claim that, according to three dissenters, was based on injuries that were too remote, speculative, and insubstantial to confer standing. Justice potter j. stewart followed the implications of sierra club v. morton (1972): environmental harm, however widespread, satisfies the "injury in fact" requirement of standing, and the case will be heard if those who complain allege harm to themselves. The harm need not be "substantial." Nor did it matter that the line of causation between the challenged government act and the asserted environmental harm was "attenuated." Several subsequent decisions, such as Warth v. Seldin (1975) and simon v. eastern kentucky welfare rights organization (1976), differ from SCRAP, insisting that the causal link between act and harm be more clearly shown. SCRAP 's relaxed view of causal nexus in standing may reflect a special judicial receptivity to environmental litigation.

Jonathan D. Varat

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Students Challenging Regulatory Agency Procedures (SCRAP), United States v. 412 U.S. 669 (1973)

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