Opinion

Supreme Court hands EPA a welcome rebuke

An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week that the Environmental Protection Agency did not properly consider economic costs in its Mercury and Air Toxic Standards rule is rightly being hailed as a needed rebuke to an out-of-control administrative agency.

The MATS rule, requiring coal-burning power plants to reduce emissions of substances like mercury, lead and arsenic, is one of the most expensive EPA regulations ever produced.

The Supreme Court held that the agency should have taken the rule’s $6.9 billion in annual compliance costs into account in determining whether the rule was “appropriate and necessary.”

That massive cost dwarfed the rule’s actual benefits, which the agency said were only $4 to $6 million.

“It is unreasonable,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia for the court, “to read an instruction to an administrative agency to determine whether ‘regulation is appropriate and necessary’ as an invitation to ignore cost.”

But this decision comes too late for the power plants that have already been shut down and the jobs that have been lost due to a now-discredited rule…

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