After handing President Obama a couple of huge wins last week with respect to Obamacare and same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court has just delivered a big blow to the administration’s environmental agenda that threatened to cripple the energy industry.
In a 5-4 decision, the high court has ruled against Obama’s EPA in its effort to impose wildly expensive new rules on power plants. The Washington Examiner explains what the newly enacted rules by the Environmental Protection Agency were intended to do:
The EPA rules in question regulate hazardous air pollutants and mercury from coal- and oil-fired power plants, known as the MATS regulations. The regulations went into effect April 16. The utility industry argues that the rules cost them billions of dollars to comply and that EPA ignored the cost issue in putting the regulations into effect.
As the Examiner article goes on to explain, the impact of the EPA’s new rules on power plant emissions has already been felt in certain parts of the country, as facilities have either been upgraded at great expense — passed along to consumers — or have been shut down by their cash-strapped operators:
Many of the companies have either made the investments or closed power plants to comply. If the investments necessary to upgrade a plant to comply with the regulation aren’t justified when considering the operational costs, revenues earned and other factors, then the decision is made to retire it.
In its coverage of the Supreme Court’s rejection of the EPA’s onerous new pollution rules, which had been challenged by industry groups as well as by some 20 states, The New York Times reports on the major setback to one of Obama’s “most ambitious environmental initiatives”:
The Clean Air Act required the regulations to be “appropriate and necessary.” The challengers said the agency had run afoul of that law by deciding to regulate the emissions without first undertaking a cost-benefit analysis.
CNN notes of the court’s decision that the EPA acted “unreasonably” that the issue of cost vs. benefit was central to the justices’ ruling that the agency overstepped its bounds.
At issue in this case was whether the EPA violated the Clean Air Act when it declined to consider costs in determining whether it was appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants.
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