Supreme Court Rejects States’ Bid To Reconsider EPA Mercury Rule

Date: June 15, 2016

Court Ruling Blocks States’ Efforts To Halt Obama Administration Regulations On Power Plants

The Obama Administration’s aggressive regulatory agenda has been the subject of countless debate, particularly when it comes to EPA efforts to regulate the energy industry through new emissions standards. A much-anticipated ruling on the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards was delivered by the Supreme Court on Monday. The AP reports that the Court declined to reconsider, at the request of 20 states, a decision by the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to keep in place the Environmental Protection Agency’s mercury-pollution rule while the government revises it to factor in compliance costs. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA should have assessed costs and benefits before enacting limits on mercury and other emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants, the AP notes. In that ruling, however, the justices allowed the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule to stay in effect while the appeals court decided how a cost-benefit analysis should be conducted. The EPA finalized its analysis of the rule’s costs in April. According to Reuters, Monday’s decision is the second time this year the high court rebuffed a group of states that had tried to block the Obama administration’s regulations on power plant emissions. Opponents of the mercury rule, which took effect over a year ago and mainly affect coal-fired plants, “have estimated they would cost $9.6 billion a year and raise electricity bills,” Reuters says. Environmental groups supported Monday’s Supreme Court action.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Complying with burdensome environmental regulations such as the MATS rule is certain to impose significant costs on small businesses. The Supreme Court’s decision to not reconsider the DC Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in the case is a blow to the bottom lines of small businesses.

Additional Reading

The Washington Post, The Hill, and the Detroit News also provided coverage of the decision.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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