January 14, 2016

EPA Ploughs Ahead With $9.6 Billion Mercury Rule, Despite Supreme Court’s Concerns

From: Forbes | Opinion

The Environmental Protection Agency is going through the motions of responding to a Supreme Court order requiring it to consider whether a $9.6 billion annual increase in Americans’ electric bills is “appropriate and necessary” to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants. In a perfunctory 18-page notice, EPA proposes to conclude that even after considering costs, its regulations of electric generating units should stand. EPA reaches this conclusion by narrowly defining costs, making generous assumptions about the country’s ability to bear those costs and diverting attention away from the small risk reductions expected.

The Supreme Court Directed EPA to Consider Mercury Rule’s Costs

In June, the Supreme Court concluded that, by ignoring the costs of its Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) regulation, EPA had violated its statutory authority to regulate when “appropriate and necessary.” Noting that EPA estimated the costs of the rule at $9.6 billion per year, and the benefits from reducing hazardous air pollutants (HAP) at between $4 million and $6 million per year, the majority observed “[o]ne would not say that it is even rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.”

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