Tuesday, June 14, 2016
SCOTUS Leaves Intact EPA Mercury Rule
Power plants are the largest source of mercury in the United States. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage children’s developing nervous systems, reducing their ability to think and learn. All told, for every dollar spent to make these cuts, the public is receiving up to $9 in health benefits.
In March, a month after voting againsy the Clean Power Plan — the Obama administration’s signature regulation on climate change — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. rejected a separate request to stay the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards rule.
More than 20 states had joined a lawsuit opposing the MATS rule, arguing that the controversial pollution controls mandated by the regulation are too expensive relative to the health benefits.
The White House and environmental groups argued that the rule was not only economically sound, but also an important public health measure. Decades of mercury pollution from coal-burning also has contributed to elevated levels of the toxin in fish. In April, the EPA issued an updated analysis of the estimated costs and benefits of the regulations, arguing that the cost for the industry to comply would amount to a fraction of annual revenue and probably would not lead to steep increases in customer bills. As the fight over the MATS rule has worked its way through the courts in recent years, many utilities have already complied with the new requirements. (Wash Post, 6/13/2016)