Constitutional Law – Delegation of Legislative Power – Use of State Agency Classification as Basis for Federal Law

Under provisions of the Federal Coal Mine Safety Act a coal mine is classified as gassy within the meaning of the act, and certain precautionary measures are thereby required, when the U. S. Bureau of Mines finds that the mine atmosphere fails to meet tests set forth in the act or when the mine is found to be a “gassy or gaseous mine pursuant to and in accordance with the laws of the State in which it is located.” One of appellant’s coal mines was classified as gassy by the West Virginia Department of Mines. When appellant failed to comply with precautionary measures required by the federal act, an inspector of the U. S. Bureau of Mines ordered the mine to be closed. On appeal, held, the use of the state classification does not constitute an unconstitutional delegation of power by Congress to a state agency. Congress has merely accepted state action as a condition upon which its exercise of power is to become effective. Gauley Mountain Coal Co. v. Director, (4th Cir. 1955) 224 F. (2d) 887.