- The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a major challenge to EPA toxic emissions rules this Wednesday, the Hill reports.
- A coalition of states and industries alleges that environmental regulators did not sufficiently consider the cost of reducing power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous substances when it drafted the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS).
- More than 20 states have filed complaints saying that complying with the MATS rule would cost too much and force too many coal-fired facilities offline.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in Michigan v U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where states and utilities say the cost to comply with the MATS rule should have been considered before requiring emissions reductions.
The Obama administration is expected to argue that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to take cost into account when deciding the level of regulation, not the decision of whether or not to regulate. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld that interpretation in a 2-1 decision in April.
The rule will cost about $9.6 billion each year.
"Maybe it would be appropriate to spend $9.6 billion every year to achieve an annual health benefit
worth $4 to $6 million by reducing mercury in fish," Michigan Attorny General Bill Schuette wrote in the state's brief. "But EPA will not even weigh the costs in its analysis. The extraordinary costs of EPA’s rule will be borne by consumers of electricity—i.e., everyone in the nation—causing a significant nationwide economic impact in exchange for relatively little public health benefit."
Parties to the suit include the states of Michigan, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming, long witg the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Public Utility Commission, and the Railroad Commission of Texas.