My vote (for what its worth)
The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Obama administration’s landmark air quality rule ruling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not properly consider the costs of the regulation. (Link to story is here from The Hill).
In a 5-4 ruling, the justices ruled that the EPA should have taken into account the costs to utilities and others in the power sector before even deciding whether to set limits for the toxic air pollutants it regulated in 2011.
The case, Michigan v. EPA (case in .pdf for is here) centers on the EPA’s first limits on mercury, arsenic and acid gases emitted by coal-fired power plants, known as mercury and air toxics (MATS).
Opponents, including the National Federation of Independent Business, say it's among the costliest regulations ever issued.
The EPA estimated its rule, which took effect for some plants in April, would cost $9.6 billion, produce between $37 billion and $90 billion in benefits and prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma cases annually.
The EPA concluded that its regulatory impact analysis should have “no bearing on” the determination of whether regulations are appropriate, as set forth in the Clean Air Act.
In the majority ruling, Justice Scalia concluded that the EPA “unreasonably interpreted the Clean Air Act” when it decided not to consider industry compliance costs and whether regulating the pollutants is “appropriate and necessary.” While the agency is afforded a certain level of power to interpret the law, the court wrote, “EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.”
Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy joined Scalia in overturning the rule.
Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer, and Bader-Ginsburg sided with the EPA, with Justice Kagan writing for the minority saying in part that the “EPA properly considered costs at a later stage in the regulation, something that it has done in other rules and that the courts have allowed.” Further adding: “The majority’s decision that EPA cannot take the same approach here — its micromanagement of EPA’s rule making, based on little more than the word ‘appropriate’ — runs counter to Congress’s allocation of authority between the Agency and the courts.”
The EPA said it is reviewing the decision and will decide any next steps — including re-doing the regulation — once that process is complete.
My view: I ask the 5-4 (conservatives): How much is your air, food, and water worth to you – that is to ensure it is clean and safe to consume. Please do not ask your big business buddies, either. We already know that their profits outweigh even common sense.
Also, I wonder: is the high court's water bottled and shipped in? Is their food triple checked. Are their air fresheners all working perfectly? Just asking.
Tic toc, tic toc.