Appeals Court Declines To Overturn EPA Air-Pollution Rule

Date: December 16, 2015

Power Plant Rule Still Set To Be Reissued Next Spring

The Hill reported that the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday affirmed the Obama administration’s “sweeping mercury pollution rule for power plants, despite a Supreme Court decision against the regulation.” The appeals court ruled that the EPA “is allowed to enforce the air pollution regulation while it works to fix the flaw identified by the high court.” The Supreme Court ruled in June “that in developing the mercury and air toxics standards, the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by not considering the compliance costs to electric utilities.” The Hill added that the EPA “did consider costs in writing the rule, but the justices decided that a unique provision in the law requires a cost-benefit analysis before even starting to write it.” The AP described Tuesday’s ruling as “a win” for the administration, “which is working to quickly fix legal problems with the rule and reissue it by April 15.” In its 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court said the EPA “should have considered the costs and benefits of its plan before deciding to impose limits on mercury and other hazardous air pollutants,” the AP said, but “the justices let the rule stay in effect and returned it” to the Washington appeals court “to decide how a cost-benefits analysis should be conducted.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

The EPA’s power plant rule is just one example of the agency’s burdensome regulatory agenda under the current administration. NFIB previously commented on the dangers of having this regulation imposed on businesses across the US. NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned said, “The EPA is doing an end-run around Congress by imposing in the form of regulation a law that the legislative branch of government has already expressly rejected. This is a crystal clear violation of the constitutional separation of powers.” News that the US Court of Appeals is upholding the legislation is troubling, as it enables this burdensome rule to continue.

Additional Reading

Reuters also covered the appeals court ruling.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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