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Strange, Byrne Applaud Supreme Court Ruling on EPA


By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, June 29, the US Supreme Court, in a controversial 5-4 ruling, sided with the energy companies and 23 states including Alabama, against restrictive new mercury emission rules by President Obama’s US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) said that the US Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Michigan is a significant victory, in what he called curbing the EPA’s unlawful regulatory overreach, at the expense of business and consumers.

AG Strange wrote in a statement, “Alabama and 21 other states joined Michigan in the successful lawsuit challenging the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act in which the agency ignored its legal obligation to consider costs of new power plant regulations as well as the impact upon health and the environment.” 

AG Strange continued, “The EPA chose to impose costly new regulations on electric utility emissions without considering the financial impact upon both the plant operators and the consumers.  In this case, the EPA’s projected cost for a new mercury emission regulation would outweigh the benefit by a factor of 2 to 1.”

The conservative Alabama AG wrote of the Michigan versus EPA ruling, “The EPA claims they don’t have to consider cost in power plant regulations under the Clean Air Act.  However, the law requires both a study to evaluate health risks and a separate consideration of whether the regulation would be ‘appropriate and necessary.’ Today’s decision deals a major setback to the EPA’s overreach agenda and should send a signal to the agency that it cannot continue to end run the law in pursuit of a radical political agenda.” 

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US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) was quick to also praise the ruling. Rep. Byrne wrote in a statement, “The Supreme Court ruled today that the EPA “unreasonably” failed to consider the cost of a proposed regulation on power plants. This should be considered a major victory for families and small businesses who would have likely seen their power bills go up. I will continue to look for ways to push back against the activist EPA as they continue to churn out expensive regulations.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) released the following statement praising Monday’s Supreme Court ruling decision requiring the EPA to consider the costs of the regulations it imposes on energy producers:

“The EPA is bent on furthering its regulatory agenda regardless of the costs to American families and consequences for American workers, and I’m pleased that the Supreme Court has finally said enough is enough.  The fact that the EPA would absolve itself of any responsibility to consider the impact of its actions underscores the arrogance of this bureaucracy and proves, once again, that the Obama administration will stop at nothing to fulfill its promise to make electricity prices ‘skyrocket.’” 

Speaker Boehner said, “We can’t erase the damage that the EPA has already caused by shutting down power plants and putting thousands of Americans out of work, but we can take action to protect the jobs and energy that are still at risk under this administration.  The Supreme Court’s decision today validates actions the House has taken to rein in the EPA, including a measure that would force bureaucrats in Washington to account for the impact of the rules they hand down.  We’re listening to the American people, and I hope today’s decision sends a clear message to the president and his administration that they ought to start doing the same.” 

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “Our reasoning so far establishes that it was unreasonable for EPA to read §7412(n)(1)(A) to mean that cost is irrelevant to the initial decision to regulate power plants. The Agency must consider cost—including, most importantly, cost of compliance—before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary.  We need not and do not hold that the law unambiguously required the Agency, when making this preliminary estimate, to conduct a formal cost-benefit analysis in which each advantage and disadvantage is assigned a monetary value. It will be up to the Agency to decide (as always, within the limits of reasonable interpretation) how to account for cost.” 

The House of Representatives has passed HR185, the Regulatory Accountability Act, which, if passed, would require bureaucrats to institute regulations based on sound data and at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. 

The House also passed HR2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, that would delay new rules on power producers.  According to information provided by Speaker Boehner’s office, the House hopes that legislation will help shield families and small businesses from double-digit energy price hikes which they warn pose a significant threat to the economy.

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The rules will now get sent back to the EPA for them to rewrite the rules while considering the cost to implement their proposals. 

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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