Brief Fact Summary. This appeal by the City of West Chicago (City) challenged a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) order granting to Kerr-McGee Corporation (KM) a license amendment authorizing it to demolish certain buildings at its facility and accept for onsite storage contaminated soil from offsite locations.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (Act), Section:189(a), requires that the NRC grant a “hearing” if requested “in any proceeding under this chapter, for granting, suspending, revoking, or amending of any license or permit.” This was interpreted to require an informal hearing because clear congressional intent must be apparent to trigger the formal, on-the-record hearing requirement of the Administrative Procedure Act.
While the decision of the agency is entitled to a presumption of regularity, the presumption is not to shield action from a thorough, probing, in-depth review.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Was a formal hearing required, or was an informal hearing sufficient under the Act?
Held. Affirmed the NRC order. An informal hearing was sufficient. In this case, the Commission procedures afforded the City all the process that was constitutionally necessary. There was no clear intention in the legislative history of the AEA indicating that Congress intended a formal hearing, nor did it specify the “on the record” requirement to trigger Section:554 of the Administrative Procedure Act. Dissent. None. Concurrence. None.
Discussion. This Court presumed, subject to rebuttal by evidence of congressional intent to the contrary, that the restrictive rule of FECR applies to adjudications as well as rulemaking.