Utilities Win Big As Supreme Court Orders EPA To Consider Cost In Regs
The utility industry won a critical — but possibly short-lived — victory as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Environmental Protection Agency must consider the costs of stringent regulations designed to eliminate mercury emissions from coal- and oil-fueled power plants.
Rejecting the Obama administration’s arguments the EPA doesn’t need to consider costs when it determines a utility pollutant must be regulated, Justice Antonin Scalia called that position unreasonable under the “appropriate and necessary” standard in the statute. By some estimates, the mercury regs cost more than $9 billion a year in order to create a $4-6 million a year in health and economic benefits.
“By EPA’s logic, someone could decide whether it is `appropriate’ to buy a Ferrari without thinking about cost, because he plans to think about cost later when deciding whether to upgrade the sound system,” Scalia wrote for a 5-4 majority.