Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Appeals Court upholds EPA's mercury pollution rule

"An appeals court has upheld the Obama administration’s sweeping mercury pollution rule for power plants, despite a Supreme Court decision against the regulation," Timothy Cama reports for The Hill. "The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to enforce the air pollution regulation while it works to fix the flaw identified by the high court."

In June the Supreme Court ruled "that in developing the mercury and air toxics standards, EPA violated the Clean Air Act by not considering the compliance costs to electric utilities," Cama writes. "The agency did consider costs in writing the rule, but the justices decided that a unique provision in the law requires a cost-benefit analysis before even starting to write it. The Supreme Court did not overturn the rule and left it to the Circuit Court to decide its fate." EPA has promised to fix the problem by April 16, 2016.

A group of states, including two of the nation's largest coal-producing states—Kentucky and West Virginia—" had asked the Circuit Court to vacate the rule, arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision identified a fatal issue that prevents the rule’s enforcement," Cama writes. "EPA said that argument ignores the court’s 'tradition of remanding deficient rules without vacatur when vacatur would have significant adverse consequences for public health and the environment, or offers evidence of any significant disruptive consequences for industry of maintaining the status quo under the Rule through remand without vacatur.'" (Read more)

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