Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Association, No. 90-1676

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtO'CONNOR
Citation505 U.S. 88,112 S.Ct. 2374,120 L.Ed.2d 73
PartiesMary GADE, Director, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Petitioner, v. NATIONAL SOLID WASTES MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION
Docket NumberNo. 90-1676
Decision Date18 June 1992

505 U.S. 88
112 S.Ct. 2374
120 L.Ed.2d 73
Mary GADE, Director, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Petitioner,

v.

NATIONAL SOLID WASTES MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION.

No. 90-1676.
Argued March 23, 1992.
Decided June 18, 1992.
Syllabus

Pursuant to authority contained in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act or Act), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated regulations implementing a requirement of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) that standards be set for the initial and routine training of workers who handle hazardous wastes. Subsequently, Illinois enacted two acts requiring the licensing of workers at certain hazardous waste facilities. Each state act has the dual purpose of protecting workers and the general public and requires workers to meet specified training and examination requirements. Claiming, among other things, that the acts were pre-empted by the OSH Act and OSHA regulations, respondent, an association of businesses involved in, inter alia, hazardous waste management, sought injunctive relief against petitioner Gade's predecessor as director of the state environmental protection agency to prevent enforcement of the state acts. The District Court held that the state acts were not pre-empted because they protected public safety in addition to promoting job safety, but it invalidated some provisions of the acts. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the OSH Act pre-empts all state law that "constitutes, in a direct, clear and substantial way, regulation of worker health and safety," unless the Secretary of Labor has explicitly approved the law pursuant to § 18 of the OSH Act. In remanding, the court did not consider which, if any, of the provisions would be pre-empted.

Held: The judgment is affirmed.

918 F.2d 671, (CA7 1990), affirmed.

Justice O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, III, and IV, concluding that:

1. A state law requirement that directly, substantially, and specifically regulates occupational safety and health is an occupational safety and health standard within the meaning of the OSH Act regardless of whether it has another, nonoccupational purpose. In assessing a state law's impact on the federal scheme, this Court has refused to rely solely

Page 89

on the legislature's professed purpose and has looked as well to the law's effects. See, e.g., Perez v. Campbell, 402 U.S. 637, 651-652, 91 S.Ct. 1704, 1712-1713, 29 L.Ed.2d 233. State laws of general applicability, such as traffic and fire safety laws, would generally not be pre-empted, because they regulate workers simply as members of the general public. Pp. 104-108.

2. The state licensing acts are pre-empted by the OSH Act to the extent that they establish occupational safety and health standards for training those who work with hazardous wastes. The Act's saving provisions are not implicated and Illinois does not have an approved plan. Illinois' interest in establishing standards for licensing various occupations, cf., e.g., Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar, 421 U.S. 773, 792, 95 S.Ct. 2004, 2015, 44 L.Ed.2d 572, cannot save from OSH Act pre-emption those provisions that directly and substantially affect workplace safety, since any state law, however clearly within a State's acknowledged power, must yield if it interferes with or is contrary to federal law, Felder v. Casey, 487 U.S. 131, 138, 108 S.Ct. 2302, 2306, 101 L.Ed.2d 123. Nor can the acts be saved from pre-emption by Gade's argument that they regulate a "pre-condition" to employment rather than occupational safety and health, since SARA makes clear that the training of employees engaged in hazardous waste operations is an occupational safety and health issue and that certification requirements before an employee may engage in such work are occupational safety and health standards. This Court does not specifically consider which of the licensing acts' provisions will be pre-empted under the foregoing analysis. Pp. 108-109.

Justice O'CONNOR, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Justice WHITE, and Justice SCALIA, concluded in Part II that the OSH Act impliedly pre-empts any state regulation of an occupational safety or health issue with respect to which a federal standard has been established, unless a state plan has been submitted and approved pursuant to § 18(b) of the Act. The Act as a whole demonstrates that Congress intended to promote occupational safety and health while avoiding subjecting workers and employers to duplicative regulation. Thus, it established a system of uniform federal standards, but gave States the option of pre-empting the federal regulations entirely pursuant to an approved state plan that displaces the federal standards. This intent is indicated principally in § 18(b)'s statement that a State "shall" submit a plan if it wishes to "assume responsibility" for developing and enforcing health and safety standards. Gade's interpretation of § 18(b)—that the Secretary's approval is required only if a State wishes to replace, not merely supplement, the federal regulations would be inconsistent with the federal scheme and is untenable in light of the surrounding provisions. The language and purposes of §§ 18(a), (c), (f), and (h) all confirm the view that the States cannot assume an enforcement role without the Secretary's approval, unless no federal standard is in effect. Also unaccept-

Page 90

able is Gade's argument that the OSH Act does not pre-empt nonconflicting state laws because those laws, like the Act, are designed to promote worker safety. Even where such laws share a common goal, a state law will be pre-empted if it interferes with the methods by which a federal statute was intended to reach that goal. International Paper Co. v. Ouellette, 479 U.S. 481, 494, 107 S.Ct. 805, 812, 93 L.Ed.2d 883. Here, the Act does not foreclose a State from enacting its own laws, but it does restrict the ways in which it can do so. Pp. 96-104.

Justice KENNEDY, agreeing that the state laws are pre-empted, concluded that the result is mandated by the express terms of § 18(b) of the OSH Act and that the scope of pre-emption is also defined by the statutory text. Such a finding is not contrary to the longstanding rule that this Court will not infer pre-emption of the States' historic police powers absent a clear statement of intent by Congress. Unartful though § 18(b)'s language may be, its structure and language, in conjunction with subsections (a), (c), and (f), leave little doubt that in the OSH Act Congress intended to pre-empt supplementary state regulation of an occupational safety and health issue with respect to which a federal standard exists. Pp. 109, 111-113.

O'CONNOR, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, III, and IV, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and WHITE, SCALIA, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined, and an opinion with respect to Part II, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and WHITE and SCALIA, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. SOUTER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BLACKMUN, STEVENS, and THOMAS, JJ., joined.

John A. Simon, Chicago, Ill., for petitioner.

Donald T. Bliss, Washington, D.C., for the respondent.

William K. Kelley, Washington, D.C., pro hac vice, as amicus curiae for U.S. by special leave of Court.

Page 91

Justice O'CONNOR announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, Parts I, III, and IV of which represent the views of the Court, and Part II of which is joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Justice WHITE, and Justice SCALIA.

In 1988, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Hazardous Waste Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operators Licensing Act, Ill.Rev.Stat., ch. 111, &Par; 7701-7717 (1989), and the Hazardous Waste Laborers Licensing Act, Ill.Rev.Stat., ch. 111, &Par; 7801-7815 (1989) (together, licensing acts). The stated purpose of the acts is both "to promote job safety" and "to protect life, limb and property." &Par; 7702, 7802. In this case, we consider whether these "dual impact" statutes, which protect both workers and the general public, are pre-empted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 84 Stat. 1590, 29 U.S.C. § 651 et seq. (OSH Act), and the standards promulgated thereunder by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Page 92

I

The OSH Act authorizes the Secretary of Labor to promulgate federal occupational safety and health standards. 29 U.S.C. § 655. In the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), Congress directed the Secretary of Labor to "promulgate standards for the health and safety protection of employees engaged in hazardous waste operations" pursuant to her authority under the OSH Act. SARA, Pub.L. 99-499, Title I, § 126, 100 Stat. 1690-1692, codified at note following 29 U.S.C. § 655. In relevant part, SARA requires the Secretary to establish standards for the initial and routine training of workers who handle hazardous wastes.

In response to this congressional directive, OSHA, to which the Secretary has delegated certain of her statutory responsibilities, see Martin v. OSHRC, 499 U.S. ----, ---- n. 1, 111 S.Ct. 1171, 1174 n. 1, 113 L.Ed.2d 117 (1991), promulgated regulations on "Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response," including detailed regulations on worker training requirements. 51 Fed.Reg. 45654, 45665-45666 (1986) (interim regulations); 54 Fed.Reg. 9294, 9320-9321 (1989) (final regulations), codified at 29 CFR § 1910.120 (1991). The OSHA regulations require, among other things, that workers engaged in an activity that may expose them to hazardous wastes receive a minimum of 40 hours of instruction off the site, and a minimum of three days actual field experience under the supervision of a trained supervisor. 29 CFR § 1910.120(e)(3)(i). Workers...

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847 practice notes
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register September 30, 2009
    • September 30, 2009
    ...submits and obtains OSHA approval of an occupational safety and health plan. See Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Association, 112 S. Ct. 2374 With respect to States that do not have OSHA-approved plans, the Agency concludes that this proposal falls under the preemption provisions o......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register February 28, 2006
    • February 28, 2006
    ...approved occupational safety and health plan (i.e., is a state-plan state) [see Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Association, 112 S. Ct. 2374 (1992)]. Therefore, with respect to states that do not have OSHA-approved plans, the Agency concludes that this final rule falls under the pr......
  • Arizona Contractors Ass'n Inc. v. Candelaria, No. CV07-02496-PHX-NVW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • February 7, 2008
    ...stated in [a] statute's language or implicitly contained in its structure and purpose." Gade v. Nat'l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass'n, 505 U.S. 88, 98, 112 S.Ct. 2374, 120 L.Ed.2d 73 (1992) (plurality opinion) (citations omitted). Where Congress has explicitly provided that federal law is to be ex......
  • Retail Prop. Trust v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., No. 12–56427.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 23, 2014
    ...labor relations, directly or obliquely. See Sears, 436 U.S. at 197 n. 27, 98 S.Ct. 1745; see also Gade v. Nat'l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass'n, 505 U.S. 88, 104–08, 112 S.Ct. 2374, 120 L.Ed.2d 73 (1992). The NLRA did not displace those areas where the “States traditionally have had great latitude......
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827 cases
  • Arizona Contractors Ass'n Inc. v. Candelaria, No. CV07-02496-PHX-NVW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • February 7, 2008
    ...stated in [a] statute's language or implicitly contained in its structure and purpose." Gade v. Nat'l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass'n, 505 U.S. 88, 98, 112 S.Ct. 2374, 120 L.Ed.2d 73 (1992) (plurality opinion) (citations omitted). Where Congress has explicitly provided that federal law is to be ex......
  • Retail Prop. Trust v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., No. 12–56427.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 23, 2014
    ...labor relations, directly or obliquely. See Sears, 436 U.S. at 197 n. 27, 98 S.Ct. 1745; see also Gade v. Nat'l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass'n, 505 U.S. 88, 104–08, 112 S.Ct. 2374, 120 L.Ed.2d 73 (1992). The NLRA did not displace those areas where the “States traditionally have had great latitude......
  • United States v. Microsoft Corporation, Civil Action No. 98-1232 (TPJ) (D. D.C. 9/14/1998), Civil Action No. 98-1232 (TPJ).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • September 14, 1998
    ...purposes and objectives of Congress." Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52, 67 (1941); accord Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Ass'n, 505 U.S. 88, 98-99 (1992). But "[c]onsideration of issues arising under the Supremacy Clause starts with the assumption that the historic police powers o......
  • Ammex, Inc. v. Wenk, No. 18-1677
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 21, 2019
    ...of the full purposes and objectives of Congress." State Farm Bank , 539 F.3d at 342 (quoting Gade v. Nat’l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass’n , 505 U.S. 88, 98, 112 S.Ct. 2374, 120 L.Ed.2d 73 (1992) ). Thus, "to survive preemption analysis State law must not ‘actually conflict’ with the means Congres......
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11 books & journal articles
  • Minimizing Constitutional Risk in State Energy Policy: A Survey of the State of the Law
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 45-5, May 2015
    • May 1, 2015
    ...unlawful aliens and warrantless arrests of unlawful aliens, were held conlict-preempted.). 104. Gade v. National Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass’n, 505 U.S. 88, 98, 22 ELR 21073 (1992) (stating that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act preempts any “state law requirement that directly, sub......
  • Legal After-Shocks on the Energy Seismograph: Judicial Prohibition of Recent State Regulation and Promotion of Power
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 45-6, June 2015
    • June 1, 2015
    ...108. See Entergy Nuclear Vt. Yankee, LLC v. Shumlin, 733 F.3d 393, 43 ELR 20201 (2d Cir. 2013); Gade v. National Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass’n, 505 U.S. 88, 105, 22 ELR 21073 (1992) (“In assessing the impact of a state law on the federal scheme, we have refused to rely solely on the legislature’......
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    • United States
    • Environmental justice: legal theory and practice. 4th edition
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    ...frustrate the purposes of RCRA, the Court must consider the purpose of the statute as a whole. Gade v. Nat’l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass’n , 505 U.S. 88, 98, 112 S. Ct. 2374, 120 L. Ed. 2d 73 (1992); see Grant’s Dairy , 232 F.3d at 15 (beginning the “obstacle to accomplishment” brand of conlict ......
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    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 39-12, December 2009
    • December 1, 2009
    ...state law. See Wis. Pub. Intervenor v. Mortier, 501 U.S. 597, 21 ELR 21127 (1991). 56. See, e.g. , Gade v. Nat’l Solid Wastes Mgmt. Ass’n, 505 U.S. 88, 98, 22 ELR 21073 (1992); Pac. Gas & Elec. Co. v. State Energy Res. Conservation & Dev. Comm’n, 461 U.S. 190, 203-04, 13 ELR 20519 (1983). S......
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