“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.” – Justice Antonin Scalia
Industry groups and 40% of the states in America 1, Environmental Protection Agency 0.
That’s the current score following the Obama Administration’s most stringent omission standards being revoked by the Supreme Court in the June ruling on Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency. In the 5-4 ruling, the highest court in the country declared that the Obama emission standards costs must be considered and weighed against the benefits it generated.
The EPA sought to limit mercury emissions and other pollutants from coal-fired plants. While the decision does not prohibit future regulations from being construed similar to these standards, the ruling does require the costs be weighed before enacting such regulations.
At the heart of the matter was the costs associated with meeting these strong standards set by the EPA. The industry and states had argued that the cost-benefit analysis showed that for every $100 saved or benefited for the greater good, $160,000 were being spent to produce that benefit. The EPA, meanwhile, argued that the greater good outweighed current costs, and later unsuccessfully argued that future benefit would be worth billions of dollars.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion for the ruling. “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.”
In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan – an Obama appointee – wrote that the EPA “acted well within its authority in declining to consider costs at the opening bell of the regulatory process given that it would do so in every round thereafter.”
A spokesman for the EPA called the decision a disappointment but said future regulations would be crafted to carry on the agency’s agenda.