Readers all heard earlier this week about the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding marriage rights, but the court also issued other opinions as well. One of these opinions dealt with a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to regulate coal plant emissions of mercury and other pollutants. This effort met with a significant challenge from 20 states and various interest groups.
The regulation aimed to reduce the 2005 carbon emissions level by 30 percent by 2030. The problem, according to critics, was that the costs of meeting that goal would be significant. From a legal perspective, critics argued, the EPA has to take into account the cost of regulations in enforcing the Clean Air Act, from which the regulations would draw their authority. The agency did not do this when it passed the regulation.