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SCOTUS Rules Against EPA Clean Air Act Rules for Power Plants

Posted on 6/29/2015 by Roger Marks

The United States Supreme Court decided today that US EPA unreasonably interpreted Federal law by failing to consider costs to industry in its decision to expand regulation of emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act. A 2012 EPA Final Rule sought to regulate emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants by power plants.

History of Clean Air Act for Power Plants

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 set standards for “major sources” of certain air pollutants. In the 1990 amendments, Congress subjected power plants to specific, proscriptive standards for air emissions, for example, a cap-and-trade program for sulfur dioxide (SO2). The Amendments tasked EPA with developing air emissions standards for other major sources. Lastly, Congress directed EPA to review its rules for power plants at a later time and develop new rules, if necessary.

In February 2012, EPA published a Final Rule to limit emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants by power plants.

US EPA regulates air emissions under the Clean Air Act
 
SCOTUS Decision on Michigan v. EPA

In its decision on the case Michigan v. EPA, the Court says “EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulated power plants.”

The Final Rule will now go back to the lower courts for further argument on EPA’s Clean Air Act rulemaking.

New Clean Air Act Regulations Now Available
A new online course is now available to help environmental engineers, EHS managers, and compliance officers keep their facilities in compliance with the US EPA’s Clean Air Act programs. The Clean Air Act Regulations guides professionals through compliance with Title V permit requirements, emissions and pollution controls, annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting, Risk Management Planning (RMP) responsibilities, and more. 

Build the expertise needed to make informed on-the-job decisions that help your site control pollution and maintain compliance. Interactive, easy to use, and available 24/7, the new online course will help you get up to speed with new and changing EPA clean air rules and protect your facility from costly EPA enforcement. 

Tags: Act, Air, Clean, EPA

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