Just a little over a year since EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan proposal, which was aimed at cutting carbon pollution from existing power plants, the Supreme Court blocked the initiative by a vote of 5-to-4 in Michigan vs. Environmental Protection Agency. The court did not strike down the rule, but did say that EPA would need to rewrite it and take implementation costs into consideration. In August 2014, 12 coal-producing states filed a lawsuit against EPA in an effort to put the brakes on the plan.
Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette celebrated the ruling, claiming it was “a victory for family budgets and job creation in Michigan. The court agreed that we can and must find a constructive balance in protecting the environment and continuing Michigan’s economic comeback.”
In a statement, EPA spokesperson Melissa Harrison said the agency “is disappointed that the court did not uphold the rule,” adding that since the rule was enacted, “investments have been made and most plants are already well on their way to compliance.”
Industry groups and a number of states complained that EPA had failed to take the implementation costs into consideration, and the Supreme Court agreed.
“It is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority.
U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue commented: “The Supreme Court made it clear that EPA cannot turn a blind eye when it imposes massive costs on our economy in return for minimal environmental benefit. The decision affirms the common sense principle that Congress requires agencies to consider the consequences of regulations that they impose on businesses and consumers.
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