Home » Supreme Court blocks EPA power plant regulations

Supreme Court blocks EPA power plant regulations

Washington, D.C. – In a 5-4 decision Monday, Supreme Court justices said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must consider the economic impact – on power companies and customers – of proposed regulations that would dramatically limit hazardous power plant emissions.

The case, Michigan v. EPA, centered on the EPA’s first limits on mercury, arsenic and acid gases emitted by coal-fired power plants. Opponents to the regulations, including the National Federation of Independent Business, say it’s among the costliest regulations ever issued.

Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett.
Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett.

The EPA estimated its rule, which took effect for some plants in April, would cost $9.6 billion, produce between $37 billion and $90 billion in benefits and prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma cases annually.

But the agency concluded that its regulatory impact analysis should have “no bearing on” the determination of whether regulations are appropriate, as set forth in the Clean Air Act.

The ruling was welcomed by a number of Kentucky officials and organizations, including the Kentucky Coal Association.

“This U.S. Supreme Court ruling is good news for coal mining, coal using states like Kentucky,” said Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association. “We have told electric utilities and the public that many of the Obama Administration’s anti-coal policies would not pass legal scrutiny, and it is good to see this prediction hold true regarding the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS). In a similar way, we expect the proposed Greenhouse Gas regulations to be found unconstitutional and lose in legal challenges. By placing their ideology over the rule of law, the anti-coal legacy of the Obama Administration and its EPA is being stopped by the courts.”