After a string of disappointing Supreme Court rulings on social issues, conservatives are celebrating the court’s ruling against a major EPA rule forcing coal plants to shut down across the country.
In a 5 to 4 decision the Supreme Court ruled the EPA acted “unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants” when crafting its Mercury Air Toxics Standard, or MATS, regulation improperly. The rule would limit mercury and other emissions from power plants at a cost of $9.6 billion a year to comply.
MATS had been challenged by the coal industry and 23 states who alleged the costs of the rule exceeded its benefits. Indeed, hundreds of coal-fired generators were being forced to close down because it was too costly to comply with MATS. The EPA and its environmental allies argued the rule would yield $36 billion in benefits — the court disagreed.
“No regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority opinion.